Spirometry for patients in hospital and one month after admission with an acute exacerbation of COPD

Section of Integrated Care, South Auckland Clinical School, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.
International Journal of COPD (Impact Factor: 3.14). 10/2011; 6(1):527-32. DOI: 10.2147/COPD.S24133
Source: PubMed


To assess whether spirometry done in hospital during an admission for an acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD) is clinically useful for long-term management.
Patients admitted to hospital with a clinical diagnosis of AECOPD had spirometry post-bronchodilator at discharge and approximately 4 weeks later.
Spirometry was achieved in less than half of those considered to have AECOPD. Of 49 patients who had spirometry on both occasions, 41 met the GOLD criteria for COPD at discharge and 39 of these met the criteria at 1 month. For the 41, spirometry was not statistically different between discharge and 1 month but often crossed arbitrary boundaries for classification of severity based on FEV(1). The eight who did not meet GOLD criteria at discharge were either misclassified due to comorbidities that reduce FVC, or they did not have COPD as a cause of their hospital admission.
Spirometry done in hospital at the time of AECOP is useful in patients with a high pre-test probability of moderate-to-severe COPD. Small changes in spirometry at 1 month could place them up or down one grade of severity. Spirometry at discharge may be useful to detect those who warrant further investigation.

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Available from: Tim Kenealy, Sep 07, 2014
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    • "There is a paucity of data about the feasibility of measuring lung function in hospitalized patients suspected of having an asthma or COPD exacerbation. A recent single-hospital study by Rea and colleagues [13] found that spirometry, performed upon hospital discharge, can serve as a baseline against which post-discharge measurements can be compared. However, we are not aware of studies that have specifically examined the quality of spirometry tests obtained early in the course of hospitalizations for patients with COPD or asthma exacerbations and their utility in confirming the presence of obstructive lung disease. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Objective measurement of airflow obstruction by spirometry is an essential part of the diagnosis of asthma or COPD. During exacerbations, the feasibility and utility of spirometry to confirm the diagnosis of asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are unclear. Addressing these gaps in knowledge may help define the need for confirmatory testing in clinical care and quality improvement efforts. This study was designed to determine the feasibility of spirometry and to determine its utility to confirm the diagnosis in patients hospitalized with a physician diagnosis of asthma or COPD exacerbation. Methods Multi-center study of four academic healthcare institutions. Spirometry was performed in 113 adults admitted to general medicine wards with a physician diagnosis of asthma or COPD exacerbation. Two board-certified pulmonologists evaluated the spirometry tracings to determine the proportion of patients able to produce adequate quality spirometry data. Findings were interpreted to evaluate the utility of spirometry to confirm the presence of obstructive lung disease, according to the 2005 European Respiratory Society/American Thoracic Society recommendations. Results There was an almost perfect agreement for acceptability (κ = 0.92) and reproducibility (κ =0.93) of spirometry tracings. Three-quarters (73%) of the tests were interpreted by both pulmonologists as being of adequate quality. Of these adequate quality tests, 22% did not present objective evidence of obstructive lung disease. Obese patients (BMI ≥30 kg/m2) were more likely to produce spirometry tracings with no evidence of obstructive lung disease, compared to non-obese patients (33% vs. 8%, p = 0.007). Conclusions Adequate quality spirometry can be obtained in most hospitalized adults with a physician diagnosis of asthma or COPD exacerbation. Confirmatory spirometry could be a useful tool to help reduce overdiagnosis of obstructive lung disease, especially among obese patients.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · BMC Pulmonary Medicine