Adequacy of Therapy for People with Both COPD and Heart Failure in the UK: Historical Cohort Study

Pragmat Obs Res. 2020 Jun 2;11:55-66. doi: 10.2147/POR.S250451. eCollection 2020.


Purpose: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart failure (HF) often occur concomitantly, presenting diagnostic and therapeutic challenges for clinicians. We examined the characteristics of patients prescribed adequate versus inadequate therapy within 3 months after newly diagnosed comorbid COPD or HF.

Patients and methods: Eligible patients in longitudinal UK electronic medical record databases had pre-existing HF and newly diagnosed COPD (2017 GOLD groups B/C/D) or pre-existing COPD and newly diagnosed HF. Adequate COPD therapy was defined as long-acting bronchodilator(s) with/without inhaled corticosteroid; adequate HF therapy was defined as beta-blocker plus angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor and/or angiotensin receptor blocker.

Results: Of 2439 patients with HF and newly diagnosed COPD (mean 75 years, 61% men), adequate COPD therapy was prescribed for 726 (30%) and inadequate for 1031 (42%); 682 (28%) remained untreated for COPD. Adequate (vs inadequate) COPD therapy was less likely for women (35%) than men (45%), smokers (36%) than ex-/non-smokers (45%), and non-obese (41%) than obese (47%); spirometry was recorded for 57% prescribed adequate versus 35% inadequate COPD therapy. Of 12,587 patients with COPD and newly diagnosed HF (mean 75 years, 60% men), adequate HF therapy was prescribed for 2251 (18%) and inadequate for 5332 (42%); 5004 (40%) remained untreated for HF. Adequate (vs inadequate) HF therapy was less likely for smokers (27%) than ex-/non-smokers (32%) and non-obese (30%) than obese (35%); spirometry was recorded for 65% prescribed adequate versus 39% inadequate HF therapy.

Conclusion: Many patients with comorbid COPD/HF receive inadequate therapy after new diagnosis. Improved equity of access to integrated care is needed for all patient subgroups.

Keywords: beta-blocker; integrated care; long-acting bronchodilator; multimorbidity.

Grant support

This work was supported by Novartis. Employees of the sponsor (listed as authors) participated in the study design, interpretation of the results, writing of the report, and the decision to submit the paper for publication.