Objective: To evaluate the clinical presentation and the factors of prognostic importance in the management of exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Subjects and methods: One hundred and four patients who were hospitalized because of exacerbation of COPD between 1996 and 2000 were selected for further evaluation. Only patients who fulfilled the American Thoracic Society criteria for diagnosis of COPD were included. The factors examined included age, clinical features, duration of symptoms of exacerbation, severity of underlying disease, comorbid diseases, level of consciousness, previous hospitalization, intubation and assisted ventilation, hypercapnia, degree of acidemia and complications.
Results: Seventy-four of 104 (71%) hospitalized patients reviewed met the inclusion criteria for COPD. The mean age was 63.68 +/- 12.6 years. There was a male:female ratio of 3:1. Fifty-eight patients (78%) had a baseline FEV1 <50% before hospitalization and 45 (64%) had previous hospitalization. Comorbid disease was found in 50% of the cases, while 78% had acidemia and 70% hypercapnia. Fourteen (19%) died on admission. Risk factors identified included severity of disease (p < 0.05); presence of comorbid disease (p < 0.01); acidemia (p < 0.0001); hypercapnia (p < 0.0001); previous hospitalization (p < 0.01), and assisted ventilation (p < 0.001).
Conclusion: This study revealed that the presence of comorbid disease, acidemia, previous hospitalization and assisted ventilation significantly contributed to mortality in patients with exacerbation of COPD.