Rationale: Early detection of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations using telemonitoring of physiological variables might reduce the frequency of hospitalization.
Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy of home monitoring of lung mechanics by the forced oscillation technique and cardiac parameters in older patients with COPD and comorbidities.
Methods: This multicenter, randomized clinical trial recruited 312 patients with Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease grades II to IV COPD (median age, 71 yr [interquartile range, 66-76 yr]; 49.6% grade II, 50.4% grades III-IV), with a history of exacerbation in the previous year and at least one nonpulmonary comorbidity. Patients were randomized to usual care (n = 158) or telemonitoring (n = 154) and followed for 9 months. All telemonitoring patients self-assessed lung mechanics daily, and in a subgroup with congestive heart failure (n = 37) cardiac parameters were also monitored. An algorithm identified deterioration, triggering a telephone contact to determine appropriate interventions.
Measurements and main results: Primary outcomes were time to first hospitalization (TTFH) and change in the EuroQoL EQ-5D utility index score. Secondary outcomes included: rate of antibiotic/corticosteroid prescription; hospitalization; the COPD Assessment Tool, Patient Health Questionnaire-9, and Minnesota Living with Heart Failure questionnaire scores; quality-adjusted life years; and healthcare costs. Telemonitoring did not affect TTFH, EQ-5D utility index score, antibiotic prescriptions, hospitalization rate, or questionnaire scores. In an exploratory analysis, telemedicine was associated with fewer repeat hospitalizations (-54%; P = 0.017).
Conclusions: In older patients with COPD and comorbidities, remote monitoring of lung function by forced oscillation technique and cardiac parameters did not change TTFH and EQ-5D. Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT 01960907).
Keywords: COPD exacerbation; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; forced oscillation technique (FOT); home monitoring.