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      “Frequent exacerbator” is a phenotype of poor prognosis in Japanese patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

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          The prognosis of Japanese patients with COPD who suffer repeated exacerbations is unclear, although Westerners with such episodes have a poor prognosis.

          Materials and methods

          We conducted a 1-year prospective observational trial involving 90 Japanese patients with COPD: 58 nonexacerbators, 12 infrequent exacerbators, and 20 frequent exacerbators classified on the basis of exacerbation frequency (zero, one, and two or more exacerbations/year), respectively, during the previous year were observed prospectively for 1 year. The characteristics of frequent exacerbators, the frequency of exacerbation, and the period until the first event were then compared among the groups.


          A total of 78 patients completed the study. Frequent exacerbators had a significantly higher risk of frequent exacerbation in the following year than the case for nonexacerbators (odds ratio [95% confidence interval] 2.94 [1.21–7.17], P=0.0340), but not in comparison with infrequent exacerbators (1.51 [0.49–4.63], P>0.05). The mean annual frequency of exacerbations in the following year was significantly ( P=0.0020) higher in the frequent exacerbators (1.4 exacerbations/year) than in the nonexacerbators (0.4), but not in the infrequent exacerbators (0.9, P>0.05). The mean period until the first exacerbation was significantly shorter in the frequent exacerbators than in the infrequent or nonexacerbators ( P=0.0012). Independent risk factors for future frequent exacerbation included the presence of gastroesophageal reflux disease, more severe airflow obstruction, and use of inhaled corticosteroids.


          Our present results indicate that Japanese COPD patients suffering frequent exacerbation have a poor prognosis. The characteristics of Japanese and Western COPD patients suffering frequent exacerbation are similar.

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          Most cited references 24

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          Global strategy for asthma management and prevention

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            Development and evaluation of FSSG: frequency scale for the symptoms of GERD.

            The aim of this study was to produce a simplified questionnaire for evaluation of the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). A total of 124 patients with an endoscopic diagnosis of GERD completed a 50-part questionnaire, requiring only "yes" or "no" answers, that covered various symptoms related to the upper gastrointestinal tract, as well as psychosomatic symptoms. The 12 questions to which patients most often answered "yes" were selected, and were assigned scores (never = 0; occasionally = 1; sometimes = 2; often = 3; and always = 4) to produce a frequency scale for symptoms of GERD (FSSG). Sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of the FSSG questionnaire were evaluated in another group of patients with GERD and non-GERD. The usefulness of this questionnaire was evaluated in 26 other GERD patients who were treated with proton pump inhibitors for 8 weeks. When the cutoff score was set at 8 points, the FSSG showed a sensitivity of 62%, a specificity of 59%, and an accuracy of 60%, whereas a cutoff score of 10 points altered these values to 55%, 69%, and 63%. The score obtained using the questionnaire correlated well with the extent of endoscopic improvement in patients with mild or severe GERD. This new questionnaire is useful for the objective evaluation of symptoms in GERD patients.
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              Tiotropium Respimat inhaler and the risk of death in COPD.

              Tiotropium delivered at a dose of 5 μg with the Respimat inhaler showed efficacy similar to that of 18 μg of tiotropium delivered with the HandiHaler inhalation device in placebo-controlled trials involving patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Although tiotropium HandiHaler was associated with reduced mortality, as compared with placebo, more deaths were reported with tiotropium Respimat than with placebo.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                03 February 2016
                : 11
                : 207-216
                [1 ]Division of Respirology, Neurology, and Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Kurume University School of Medicine, Kurume, Japan
                [2 ]Respiratory Medicine, Chikugo City Hospital, Chikugo, Japan
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Tomotaka Kawayama, Division of Respirology, Neurology, and Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Kurume University School of Medicine, 67 Asahi-machi, Kurume, Fukuoka 830 0011, Japan, Tel +81 942 317 560, Fax +81 942 317 703, Email kawayama_tomotaka@
                © 2016 Tomioka et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                japanese, exacerbation, hospitalization, copd


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