GOLD Stage and Treatment in COPD: A 500 Patient Point Prevalence Study Academic Article uri icon

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  • Background and Objective: The Global initiative for chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) guidelines recommend using a combination of spirometry, symptoms and exacerbation history to classify patients into 4 categories (A, B, C, D) to guide treatment decisions along with a stepwise increase in therapy. Our objectives were to identify the GOLD stage of patients in respiratory outpatient clinics and assess how treatment compares to guideline recommendations. Methods: This was a point prevalence study using a convenience sample of 500 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) from a single tertiary care outpatient respiratory clinic. Results: Patients' GOLD classification was determined based on symptoms (modified Medical Research Council [mMRC] dyspnea scale, COPD Assessment Test [CAT]), spirometry and self-reported exacerbation history. A total of 8.2% of patients were in the GOLD group A, 28.3% in group B, 4.2% in group C and 59.2% in group D. Conclusions: In this 500 patient point prevalence study we report a low proportion of patients in GOLD group C and a high level of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS)/ long-acting beta2-agonist (LABA) and triple therapy use throughout all GOLD categories. Clinical Implications: The GOLD guidelines have attempted to provide direction to practitioners by grouping patients into 4 groups based on symptoms and exacerbations however, the low prevalence of GOLD group C may indicate that not all of these groupings are clinically relevant. Future research is needed to better identify clinically relevant phenotypes that predict benefit from ICS and methods to promote guideline concordant management in COPD.


  • Safka, Katherine A
  • Wald, Joshua
  • Wang, Hongyu
  • McIvor, Luke
  • McIvor, Andrew

publication date

  • December 22, 2016