Standardisation of Clinical Assessment, Management and Follow-Up of Acute Hospitalised Exacerbation of COPD: A Europe-Wide Consensus
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BACKGROUND: Despite hospitalization for exacerbation being a high-risk event for morbidity and mortality, there is little consensus globally regarding the assessment and management of hospitalised exacerbations of COPD. We aimed to establish a consensus list of symptoms, physiological measures, clinical scores, patient questionnaires and investigations to be obtained at time of hospitalised COPD exacerbation and follow-up. METHODS: A modified Delphi online survey with pre-defined consensus of importance, feasibility and frequency of measures at hospitalisation and follow-up of a COPD exacerbation was undertaken. FINDINGS: A total of 25 COPD experts from 18 countries contributed to all 3 rounds of the survey. Experts agreed that a detailed history and examination were needed. Experts also agreed on which treatments are needed and how soon these should be delivered. Experts recommended that a full blood count, renal function, C-reactive protein and cardiac blood biomarkers (BNP and troponin) should be measured within 4 hours of admission and that the modified Medical Research Council dyspnoea scale (mMRC) and COPD assessment test (CAT) should be performed at time of exacerbation and follow-up. Experts encouraged COPD clinicians to strongly consider discussing palliative care, if indicated, at time of hospitalisation. INTERPRETATION: This Europe-wide consensus document is the first attempt to standardise the assessment and care of patients hospitalised for COPD exacerbations. This should be regarded as the starting point to build knowledge and evidence on patients hospitalised for COPD exacerbations.
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