Seasonality and determinants of moderate and severe COPD exacerbations in the TORCH study.
Eur Respir J. 2012 Jan;39(1):38-45
Authors: Jenkins CR, Celli B, Anderson JA, Ferguson GT, Jones PW, Vestbo J, Yates JC, Calverley PM
We investigated the impact of season relative to other determinants of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbation frequency in a long-term international study of patients with forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV(1)) <60% predicted. COPD exacerbations were defined by worsening symptoms requiring systemic corticosteroids and/or antibiotics (moderate) or hospital admission (severe). Seasonality effect was calculated as the proportion of patients experiencing an exacerbation each month. Exacerbations in the northern and southern regions showed an almost two-fold increase in the winter months. No seasonal pattern occurred in the tropics. Overall, 38% of exacerbations were treated with antibiotics only, 19% with systemic corticosteroids only and 43% with both, while 20% required hospital admission irrespective of the season. Exacerbation frequency was associated with older age, lower body mass index, lower FEV(1) % pred and history of prior exacerbations. Females and patients with worse baseline breathlessness, assessed using the Medical Research Council (MRC) dyspnoea scale, exacerbated more often (rate ratio (RR) for male versus female 0.7, 95% CI 0.7-0.8 (p<0.001); RR for MRC dyspnoea score 3 versus 1 and 2 combined 1.1, 95% CI 1.1-1.2 (p<0.001)). The effect of season was independent of these risk factors. COPD exacerbations and hospitalisations were more frequent in winter.
PMID: 21737561 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]