"Can Do, Do Do" Quadrants and 6-Year All-Cause Mortality in Patients With COPD

Chest. 2022 Jun;161(6):1494-1504. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2021.12.657. Epub 2022 Jan 11.


Background: Physical capacity (PC; "can do") and physical activity (PA; "do do") are prognostic indicators in COPD and can be used to subdivide patients with COPD into four exclusive subgroups (the so-called "can do, do do" quadrants). This concept may be useful to understand better the impact of PC and PA on all-cause mortality in patients with COPD.

Research question: What is the 6-year all-cause mortality risk of the "can do, do do" quadrants of patients with COPD?

Study design and methods: This retrospective study used data from patients with COPD who underwent a comprehensive assessment at their first-ever outpatient consultation. PC was assessed using the 6-min walk distance and physical activity was assessed using an accelerometer (steps per day). All-cause mortality data were obtained from the Municipal Personal Records Database. Receiver operating characteristic curves were used to determine threshold values for PC and PA to predict 6-year all-cause mortality. Using the derived threshold values, male and female patients were divided into the four "can do, do do" quadrants.

Results: Data from 829 patients were used for analyses. Best discriminatory values for 6-year mortality were 404 m and 4,125 steps/day for men and 394 m and 4,005 steps/day for women. During a median follow-up of 55 months (interquartile range, 37-71 months), 129 patients (15.6%) died. After controlling for established prognostic factors, patients in the "can do, don't do" quadrant and "can do, do do" quadrant showed significantly lower mortality risk compared with patients in the "can't do, don't do" quadrant: hazard ratios of 0.36 (95% CI, 0.14-0.93) and 0.24 (95% CI, 0.09-0.61) for men and 0.37 (95% CI, 0.38-0.99) and 0.29 (95% CI, 0.10-0.87) for women, respectively. No significant differences were found between the "can't do, do do" and "can't do, don't do" quadrants.

Interpretation: Patients with COPD with a preserved PC seem to have a significantly lower 6-year mortality risk compared with patients with a decreased PC, regardless of physical activity level.

Keywords: COPD; mortality; physical activity; physical capacity.

MeSH terms

  • Exercise
  • Exercise Tolerance*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Walking