Objective: To assess the baseline clinical characteristics, management, and long-term survival of hospital-based COPD patients in the northern part of Thailand.
Material and method: One hundred and ninety five hospital-based COPD patients from community and provincial hospitals in the northern part of Thailand were recruited between May and November 2002. They were followed up for 45 months for survival.
Results: Most of them (71.3%) were in the advanced stage and 41.8% were undernourished. Only a small fraction of the advanced stage patients (25.7%) estimated their dyspnea severity correctly with the disease stages. The frequency of the exacerbations increases as the disease become more severe. Only 23.7% of the advanced stage patients had received regular bronchodilator therapy. No patients had received pulmonary rehabilitation and long-term oxygen therapy. The 45 months survival was 75.6% in all patients. The severe group with low BMI had significantly lower survival than the one with normal BMI (67.7% vs. 89.8%, p = 0.040).
Conclusion: Most COPD patients in the northern part of Thailand were in the advanced stage. They were commonly undernourished and exacerbated but still under treated according to standard treatment guidelines. BMI tends to influence the long-term survival of the advanced stage patients.