Healthcare, Medication Utilization and Outcomes of Patients with COPD by GOLD Classification in England
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BackgroundAvailable data on the relationship between COPD symptoms, disease outcomes, and mortality are currently limited. This study investigated the clinical characteristics, outcomes, healthcare utilization, and prescribing practices across GOLD 2017 groups (A, B, C, and D) in a large-scale, population-based cohort of COPD patients managed in an English primary care setting.
Patients and methodsThis retrospective analysis included patients aged ≥35 years, with a confirmed diagnosis of COPD and ≥1 record of pulmonary function testing in their medical history. Medical Research Council dyspnea score and exacerbation history were used to define patients' GOLD 2017 classification. Patients were identified using the UK Clinical Practice Research Database and were followed for 12 months.
ResultsEligible COPD patients' (N=42,331; mean [SD] age, 69.5 [10.7] years; 54% males), GOLD 2017 categorizations were: Group A: 49.1%, Group B: 30.5%, Group C: 8.2%, Group D: 12.1%. Overall, 37.7% of patients experienced ≥1 moderate COPD exacerbation. The rate of moderate exacerbations per person per year (PPPY) was highest in GOLD group D (0.72), followed by C (0.53), B (0.22), and A (0.15), while the rate of exacerbations leading to hospitalization PPPY was much higher in D (0.27) than in B (0.10), C (0.08), or A (0.03). Overall, 56.4% of patients visited their general practitioner ≥5 times in the 12 months of follow-up. Time-to-event analysis suggested that breathlessness contributed to exacerbation severity and frequency. One-year mortality was highest in GOLD groups D and B. The most frequent prescribed maintenance therapies were inhaled corticosteroids with long-acting β2-agonists, multiple-inhaler triple therapy, or long-acting muscarinic antagonist, irrespective of GOLD classification.
ConclusionThe burden of COPD remains substantial in England. Stratification of this large primary care population according to GOLD criteria predicted the risk of COPD exacerbations. Understanding populations of patients with COPD may enable the optimization of patient care.
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