Background and objectives: The Phenotype and Course of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (PAC-COPD) study aims to improve our understanding of the phenotypic heterogeneity of this disease and the extent to which this heterogeneity is related to clinical course. The main objectives are a) to characterize the phenotypic variability in first-time hospitalizations for exacerbation of COPD and to propose a classification into subtypes and b) to ascertain the association between the defined subtypes and the clinical and functional course of COPD.
Patients and methods: This is a cross-sectional and cohort study of 342 patients with COPD from 9 tertiary hospitals in 3 autonomous communities. The minimum follow-up period is 5 years. The main variables of interest are respiratory symptoms, smoking, alcohol use, physical activity, use of health care services, medical care, treatment received, activities of daily living, comorbid conditions, sleepiness, anxiety and depression, quality of life, forced spirometry and bronchodilation tests, lung volume and inspiratory capacity measured by body plethysmography, carbon monoxide diffusing capacity, baseline arterial blood gas values, respiratory and peripheral muscle function, electrocardiogram, body weight and composition measured by bioelectric impedance, chest radiograph, skin prick test, capacity for exercise measured in the 6-minute walk test and cardiopulmonary exercise test, induced sputum (for quantitative microbiological culture and determination of inflammatory markers), nighttime pulse oximetry, chest computed tomography scan, and echocardiography. Serum and plasma samples are also taken to measure levels of inflammatory markers and oxidative stress, for genetic analysis, and for other possible measurements that might be required in the future. The statistical analysis combines factor analysis and survival models such as Cox regression analysis. This project will enable us to reconsider the definition and classification of COPD and to better understand the factors associated with its natural history.