Hong Kong Med J 2013;19:498–503 | Number 6, December 2013 | Epub 20 Jun 2013
Severity of airflow limitation, co-morbidities and management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients acutely admitted to hospital
LH Au, HS Chan
Department of Medicine and Geriatrics, Tai Po Hospital, Tai Po, Hong Kong
OBJECTIVE. To assess the disease spectrum, severity of airflow limitation, admission pattern, co-morbidities, and management of patients admitted for acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
DESIGN. Case series.
SETTING. An acute regional hospital in Hong Kong.
PATIENTS. Adult subjects admitted during January 2010 to December 2010 with the principal discharge diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
RESULTS. In all, the records of 253 patients with physician-diagnosed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were analysed. The majority were old (mean age, 78 years). The median number of admissions per patient for this condition in 2010 was two. About two thirds (64%) had had spirometry at least once. Mean forced expiratory volume in one second predicted was 55%. Almost 90% had moderate–to–very severe airflow limitation by spirometry. Overall, long-acting bronchodilators (beta agonists and/or antimuscarinics) were being prescribed for only 21% of the patients.
CONCLUSION. Most of the patients admitted to hospital for acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were old, had multiple co-morbidities, and the majority had moderate-to-severe airflow limitation by spirometry. Almost half of them (around 46%) had two or more admissions in 2010. Adherence to the latest treatment guidelines seemed inadequate, there being a low prescription rate of long-acting bronchodilators. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients warranting emergency admissions are at risk of future exacerbations and mortality. Management by a designated multidisciplinary team is recommended.
Key words: Comorbidity; Pulmonary disease, chronic obstructive; Spirometry
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