Comorbid Influences on Generic Health-Related Quality of Life in COPD: A Systematic Review

PLoS One. 2015 Jul 13;10(7):e0132670. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0132670. eCollection 2015.


Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a leading cause of mortality and of loss of disability-adjusted life years worldwide. It often is accompanied by the presence of comorbidity.

Objectives: To systematically review the influence of COPD comorbidity on generic health-related quality of life (HRQoL).

Methods: A systematic review approach was used to search the databases Pubmed, Embase and Cochrane Library for studies evaluating the influence of comorbidity on HRQoL in COPD. Identified studies were analyzed according to study characteristics, generic HRQoL measurement instrument, COPD severity and comorbid HRQoL impact. Studies using only non-generic instruments were excluded.

Results: 25 studies met the selection criteria. Seven studies utilized the EQ-5D, six studies each used the SF-36 or SF-12. The remaining studies used one of six other instruments each. Utilities were calculated by four EQ-5D studies and one 15D study. Patient populations covered both early and advanced stages of COPD and ranged from populations with mostly stage 1 and 2 to studies with patients classified mainly stage 3 and 4. Evidence was mainly created for cardiovascular disease, depression and anxiety as well as diabetes but also for quantitative comorbid associations. Strong evidence is pointing towards the significant negative association of depression and anxiety on reduced HRQoL in COPD patients. While all studies found the occurrence of specific comorbidities to decrease HRQoL in COPD patients, the orders of magnitude diverged. Due to different patient populations, different measurement tools and different concomitant diseases the study heterogeneity was high.

Conclusions: Facilitating multimorbid intervention guidance, instead of applying a parsimony based single disease paradigm, should constitute an important goal for improving HRQoL of COPD patients in research and in clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / complications
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology*
  • Quality of Life*

Grants and funding

The authors received no specific funding for this work.