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      Management and Risk of Mortality in Patients Hospitalised Due to a First Severe COPD Exacerbation

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          Reducing the need for hospitalisation in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an important goal in COPD management. The aim of this study was to evaluate re-hospitalisation, treatment, comorbidities and mortality in patients with COPD who were hospitalised for the first time due to a COPD exacerbation.


          This was a retrospective, population-based observational cohort study of Swedish patients using linked data from three mandatory national health registries to assess re-hospitalisation rates, medication use and mortality. Rate of hospitalisation was calculated using the number of events divided by the number of person-years at risk; risk of all-cause and COPD-related mortality were assessed using Cox proportional hazard models.


          In total, 51,247 patients were identified over 10 years; 35% of patients were not using inhaled corticosteroid, long-acting muscarinic antagonist or long-acting β 2-agonist treatment prior to hospitalisation, 38% of whom continued without treatment after being discharged. Re-hospitalisation due to a second severe exacerbation occurred in 11.5%, 17.8% and 24% of the patients within 30, 90 and 365 days, respectively. Furthermore, 24% died during the first year following hospitalisation and risk of all-cause and COPD-related mortality increased with every subsequent re-hospitalisation. Comorbidities, including ischaemic heart disease, heart failure and pneumonia, were more common amongst patients who were re-hospitalised than those who were not.


          Following hospitalisation for first severe COPD exacerbation, many patients did not collect the treatment recommended by current guidelines. Risk of mortality increased with every subsequent re-hospitalisation. Patients with concurrent comorbidities had an increased risk of being re-hospitalised.

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          Most cited references 26

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          Mortality in COPD: Role of comorbidities.

          Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) represents an increasing burden throughout the world. COPD-related mortality is probably underestimated because of the difficulties associated with identifying the precise cause of death. Respiratory failure is considered the major cause of death in advanced COPD. Comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease and lung cancer are also major causes and, in mild-to-moderate COPD, are the leading causes of mortality. The links between COPD and these conditions are not fully understood. However, a link through the inflammation pathway has been suggested, as persistent low-grade pulmonary and systemic inflammation, both known risk factors for cardiovascular disease and cancer, are present in COPD independent of cigarette smoking. Lung-specific measurements, such as forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV(1)), predict mortality in COPD and in the general population. However, composite tools, such as health-status measurements (e.g. St George's Respiratory Questionnaire) and the BODE index, which incorporates Body mass index, lung function (airflow Obstruction), Dyspnoea and Exercise capacity, predict mortality better than FEV(1) alone. These multidimensional tools may be more valuable because, unlike predictive approaches based on single parameters, they can reflect the range of comorbidities and the complexity of underlying mechanisms associated with COPD. The current paper reviews the role of comorbidities in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease mortality, the putative underlying pathogenic link between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and comorbid conditions (i.e. inflammation), and the tools used to predict chronic obstructive pulmonary disease mortality.
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            Anxiety and depression in COPD: current understanding, unanswered questions, and research needs.

            Approximately 60 million people in the United States live with one of four chronic conditions: heart disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and major depression. Anxiety and depression are very common comorbidities in COPD and have significant impact on patients, their families, society, and the course of the disease. We report the proceedings of a multidisciplinary workshop on anxiety and depression in COPD that aimed to shed light on the current understanding of these comorbidities, and outline unanswered questions and areas of future research needs. Estimates of prevalence of anxiety and depression in COPD vary widely but are generally higher than those reported in some other advanced chronic diseases. Untreated and undetected anxiety and depressive symptoms may increase physical disability, morbidity, and health-care utilization. Several patient, physician, and system barriers contribute to the underdiagnosis of these disorders in patients with COPD. While few published studies demonstrate that these disorders associated with COPD respond well to appropriate pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic therapy, only a small proportion of COPD patients with these disorders receive effective treatment. Future research is needed to address the impact, early detection, and management of anxiety and depression in COPD.
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              How corticosteroids control inflammation: Quintiles Prize Lecture 2005.

               Peter Barnes (2006)
              Corticosteroids are the most effective anti-inflammatory therapy for many chronic inflammatory diseases, such as asthma but are relatively ineffective in other diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Chronic inflammation is characterised by the increased expression of multiple inflammatory genes that are regulated by proinflammatory transcription factors, such as nuclear factor-kappaB and activator protein-1, that bind to and activate coactivator molecules, which then acetylate core histones to switch on gene transcription. Corticosteroids suppress the multiple inflammatory genes that are activated in chronic inflammatory diseases, such as asthma, mainly by reversing histone acetylation of activated inflammatory genes through binding of liganded glucocorticoid receptors (GR) to coactivators and recruitment of histone deacetylase-2 (HDAC2) to the activated transcription complex. At higher concentrations of corticosteroids GR homodimers also interact with DNA recognition sites to active transcription of anti-inflammatory genes and to inhibit transcription of several genes linked to corticosteroid side effects. In patients with COPD and severe asthma and in asthmatic patients who smoke HDAC2 is markedly reduced in activity and expression as a result of oxidative/nitrative stress so that inflammation becomes resistant to the anti-inflammatory actions of corticosteroids. Theophylline, by activating HDAC, may reverse this corticosteroid resistance. This research may lead to the development of novel anti-inflammatory approaches to manage severe inflammatory diseases.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                28 October 2020
                : 15
                : 2673-2682
                [1 ]Department of Medical Sciences: Respiratory, Allergy and Sleep Research, Uppsala University , Uppsala, Sweden
                [2 ]Krefting Research Centre, Institute of Medicine, University of Gothenburg , Gothenburg, Sweden
                [3 ]Wallenberg Centre for Molecular and Translational Medicine, University of Gothenburg , Gothenburg, Sweden
                [4 ]Statisticon AB , Uppsala, Sweden
                [5 ]AstraZeneca Nordic-Baltic , Södertälje, Sweden
                [6 ]Lund University , Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences Lund, Respiratory Medicine and Allergology, Lund, Sweden
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Christer Janson Department of Medical Sciences: Respiratory, Allergy and Sleep Research, Uppsala University, Akademiska Sjukhuset , Uppsala751 85, SwedenTel +4618-6114115 Email
                © 2020 Janson 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. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms (

                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 14, References: 31, Pages: 10
                Funded by: AstraZeneca, open-funder-registry 10.13039/100004325;
                This study was sponsored by AstraZeneca.
                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                copd, re-hospitalisation, management, mortality


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