Background: Identification of persons with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at risk for acute exacerbations (AEs) targets them for close monitoring.
Objectives: We examined the ability of a novel index combining physical activity and systemic inflammation to identify persons at risk for AEs.
Methods: In an observational cohort study of 167 persons with COPD, we assessed daily step count, a direct measure of physical activity, with the StepWatch Activity Monitor and measured plasma C-reactive protein (CRP) and IL-6 levels. AEs and COPD-related hospitalizations were assessed prospectively over a median of 16 months. Predictors of AEs and COPD-related hospitalizations were assessed using negative binomial models.
Measurements and main results: Median daily step count was 5,203 steps (interquartile range, 3,627-7,024). Subjects with daily step count ≤ 5,203 and CRP > 3 mg/l had an increased rate of AEs (rate ratio [RR], 2.06; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.30-3.27) and COPD-related hospitalizations (RR, 3.51; 95% CI, 1.73-7.11) compared with subjects with daily step count > 5,203 and CRP ≤ 3 mg/l, adjusting for FEV1% predicted and prednisone use for AE in the previous year. Similarly, subjects with daily step count ≤ 5,203 and IL-6 > 2 pg/ml had an increased rate of AEs (RR, 2.04; 95% CI, 1.14-3.63) and COPD-related hospitalizations (RR, 4.27; 95% CI, 1.56-11.7) compared with subjects with daily step count > 5,203 and IL-6 ≤ 2 pg/ml.
Conclusions: An index combining daily step count and systemic inflammation can predict AEs and COPD-related hospitalizations. A validation study in a separate cohort is needed to confirm the utility of the proposed index as a clinical tool to risk stratify persons with COPD.