Validity of the diagnosis of pneumonia in hospitalised patients with COPD.

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Validity of the diagnosis of pneumonia in hospitalised patients with COPD.

ERJ Open Res. 2019 Apr;5(2):

Authors: Finney LJ, Padmanaban V, Todd S, Ahmed N, Elkin SL, Mallia P

Rationale: Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia are two of the most common reasons for acute hospital admissions. Acute exacerbations and pneumonia present with similar symptoms in COPD patients, representing a diagnostic challenge with a significant impact on patient outcomes. The objectives of this study were to compare the prevalence of radiographic consolidation with the discharge diagnoses of hospitalised COPD patients.
Methods: COPD patients admitted to three UK hospitals over a 3-year period were identified. Participants were included if they were admitted with an acute respiratory illness, COPD was confirmed by spirometry and a chest radiograph was performed within 24 h of admission. Pneumonia was defined as consolidation on chest radiograph reviewed by two independent observers.
Results: There were 941 admissions in 621 patients included in the final analysis. In 235 admissions, consolidation was present on chest radiography and there were 706 admissions without consolidation. Of the 235 admissions with consolidation, only 42.9% had a discharge diagnosis of pneumonia; 90.7% of patients without consolidation had a discharge diagnosis of COPD exacerbation. The presence of consolidation was associated with increased rate of high-dependency care admission, increased mortality and prolonged length of stay. Inhaled corticosteroid use was associated with recurrent pneumonia.
Conclusions: Pneumonia is underdiagnosed in patients with COPD. Radiographic consolidation is associated with worse outcomes and prolonged length of stay. Incorrect diagnosis could result in inappropriate use of inhaled corticosteroids. Future guidelines should specifically address the diagnosis and management of pneumonia in COPD.

PMID: 31249841 [PubMed]

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