Different therapeutic responses in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease subgroups

Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2011 Aug;15(8):1104-10. doi: 10.5588/ijtld.10.0553.


Setting: Eleven referring hospitals in South Korea.

Objective: To compare therapeutic responses in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) subgroups, classified by diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (DL(CO)) and lung volume.

Design: A total of 130 stable male COPD patients were classified into four subgroups according to baseline DL(CO) and residual volume/total lung capacity (RV/TLC) ratio. We compared therapeutic responses to short acting β(2)-agonist (SABA) and 3-month combined inhalation of long-acting β(2)-agonist (LABA) and corticosteroid among patients with these subgroups.

Results: Among the 130 COPD patients, 41 (31.5%) had normal DL(CO) and RV/TLC, 28 (21.5%) low DL(CO) and normal RV/TLC, 31 (23.8%) normal DL(CO) and high RV/TLC, and 30 (23.1%) low DL(CO) and high RV/TLC. The normal DL(CO)/high RV/TLC subgroup showed a significantly larger flow response (changes in forced expiratory volume in 1 s) to salbutamol than the normal DL(CO)/RV/TLC subgroups, and a larger volume response (changes in forced vital capacity) than the two normal RV/TLC subgroups. The normal DL(CO)/high RV/TLC subgroup also showed significantly larger flow and volume response to 3-month combined inhalation of LABA and corticosteroid than the two normal RV/TLC subgroups.

Conclusion: COPD subgroups classified by DL(CO) and RV/TLC may have different pulmonary function responses to pharmacological treatment.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / administration & dosage*
  • Adrenergic beta-2 Receptor Agonists / administration & dosage*
  • Aged
  • Bronchodilator Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung / drug effects*
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Lung Volume Measurements
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pulmonary Diffusing Capacity
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / classification
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Republic of Korea
  • Residual Volume
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Total Lung Capacity
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Adrenergic beta-2 Receptor Agonists
  • Bronchodilator Agents