High prevalence of undiagnosed and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at first hospital admission with acute exacerbation.
Chron Respir Dis. 2010 Mar 18;
Authors: Bastin AJ, Starling L, Ahmed R, Dinham A, Hill N, Stern M, Restrick LJ
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common cause of acute medical hospital admission, and the prevalence of undiagnosed COPD in the community is high. The impact of undiagnosed COPD on presentation to secondary care services is not currently known. We therefore set out to characterise patients at first admission with an acute exacerbation of COPD, and to identify potential areas for improvement in earlier diagnosis and further management. A retrospective case review of patients first admitted to a district teaching hospital with an acute exacerbation of COPD over a 1-year period was carried out. Forty-one patients with a first admission with an acute exacerbation of COPD were identified, 14 (34%) of whom had not been previously diagnosed and were diagnosed with COPD as a result of the admission. At presentation, this group of patients had severe disease, with mean (SD) FEV1 1.02 (0.32) L, and a respiratory acidosis in eight (20%) patients, even though this was their first admission for an acute exacerbation of COPD. Missed potential opportunities to intervene in community and inpatient management were identified, including earlier diagnosis, pre-hospital corticosteroid therapy, inpatient respiratory team input, provision of smoking cessation advice and consideration of pulmonary rehabilitation. Patients with a first hospital admission with an acute exacerbation of COPD frequently have severe disease at presentation. Despite having severe disease, a diagnosis of COPD had not been made in the community prior to admission in one-third of patients. Future work should be directed at earlier identification of patients who are symptomatic from COPD and ensuring that the interventions of proven benefit in COPD are systematically offered to patients in both primary and secondary care.
PMID: 20299538 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]