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Different impacts of respiratory symptoms and comorbidities on COPD-specific health-related quality of life by COPD severity

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Abstract

Background: Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) often have poor health-related quality of life (HRQoL) that is disproportionate to their degree of airflow limitation. This study evaluated the association between St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire for COPD (SGRQ-C) score and forced expiratory volume in one second and investigated the factors responsible for high SGRQ-C score according to severity of airflow limitation. Methods: Data from 1,264 COPD patients were obtained from the Korean COPD Subgroup Study (KOCOSS) cohort. Patients were categorized into two groups according to severity of airflow limitation: mild-to-moderate and severe-to-very severe COPD groups. We evaluated the clinical factors associated with high SGRQ-C score (≥25) in each COPD patient group. Results: Of the 1,264 COPD patients, 902 (71.4%) had mild-to-moderate airflow limitation and 362 (28.6%) had severe-to-very severe airflow limitation. Of the mild-to-moderate COPD patients, 59.2% (534/902) had high SGRQ-C score, while 80.4% (291/362) of the severe-to-very severe COPD patients had high SGRQ-C score. The association between SGRQ-C score and post-bronchodilator forced expiratory volume in one second (% predicted) was very weak in the mild-to-moderate COPD patients (r=-0.103, p=0.002) and weak in the severe-to-very severe COPD patients (r=-0.219, p<0.001). Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that age, being an ex- or current smoker, lower level of education, cough, dyspnea, and number of comorbidities with congestive heart failure, hyperlipidemia, and depression were significantly associated with high SGRQ-C score in mild-to-moderate COPD patients. In comparison, being an ex-smoker and having respiratory symptoms including sputum and dyspnea were significant factors associated with high SGRQ-C score in severe-to-very severe COPD patients. Conclusions: In addition to the respiratory symptoms of dyspnea and cough, high SGRQ-C score was associated with extra-pulmonary comorbidities in mild-to-moderate COPD patients. However, only respiratory symptoms such as sputum and dyspnea were significantly associated with high SGRQ-C score in severe-to-very severe COPD patients. This indicates the need for an improved management strategy for relieving respiratory symptoms in COPD patients with poor HRQoL. In addition, attention should be paid to extra-pulmonary comorbidities, especially in mild-to-moderate COPD patients with poor HRQoL.

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Lee, H., Jhun, B. W., Cho, J., Yoo, K. H., Lee, J. H., Kim, D. K., … Park, H. Y. (2017). Different impacts of respiratory symptoms and comorbidities on COPD-specific health-related quality of life by COPD severity. International Journal of COPD, 12, 3301–3310. https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S145910

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