Background: COPD is an important public health challenge with significant heterogeneity of clinical presentation and disease progression. Clinicians have been trying to find phenotypes that may be linked to distinct prognoses and different therapeutic choices. Not all patients with COPD present with wheezing, a possible clinical phenotype that can help differentiate patient subgroups. Methods: The Taiwan Obstructive Lung Disease study was a retrospective, multicenter research study to investigate the treatment patterns of COPD after the implementation of the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease 2011 guidelines. Between November 2012 and August 2013, medical records were retrieved from patients with COPD aged ≥40 years; patients diagnosed with asthma were excluded. Demographic data, lung function, symptom scores, and acute exacerbation were recorded and analyzed, and the differences between patients with and without wheezing were evaluated. Results: Of the 1,096 patients with COPD, 424 (38.7%) had the wheezing phenotype. The wheezing group had significantly higher COPD Assessment Test scores (12.4±7.8 versus 10.5±6.7, P,0.001), higher modified Medical Research Council grade (2.0±1.0 versus 1.7±0.9, P<0.001), and more acute exacerbations within the past year (0.9±1.3 versus 0.4±0.9, P<0.001) than the nonwheezing group. The postbronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 second was lower in wheezing patients (1.2±0.5 L versus 1.5±0.6 L, P<0.001). Even in patients with maintenance treatment fitting the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease 2011 guidelines, the wheezing group still had worse symptom scores and more exacerbations. Conclusion: Wheezing is an important phenotype in patients with COPD. Patients with COPD having the wheezing phenotype are associated with worse symptoms, more exacerbations, and worse lung function.
Huang, W. C., Tsai, Y. H., Wei, Y. F., Kuo, P. H., Tao, C. W., Cheng, S. L., … Lin, M. S. (2015). Wheezing, a significant clinical phenotype of COPD: Experience from the Taiwan Obstructive Lung Disease Study. International Journal of COPD, 10(1), 2121–2126. https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S92062