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Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 20 (2013), Issue 5, Pages e92-e97
Original Article

Evolution of the COPD Assessment Test Score during Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Exacerbations: Determinants and Prognostic Value

Darwin Feliz-Rodriguez,1 Santiago Zudaire,1 Carlos Carpio,1 Elizabet Martínez,1 Antonia Gómez-Mendieta,1 Ana Santiago,1 Rodolfo Alvarez-Sala,1,2 and Francisco García-Río1,2,3

1Servicio de Neumología, Hospital Universitario La Paz, IdiPAZ, Madrid, Spain
2Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain
3CIBER de Enfermedades Respiratorias (CIBERES), Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Copyright © 2013 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: An adequate evaluation of exacerbations is a primary objective in managing patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

OBJECTIVES: To define the profile of health status recovery during severe exacerbations of COPD using the COPD Assessment Test (CAT) questionnaire and to evaluate its prognostic value.

METHODS: Forty-five patients with previous COPD diagnoses who were hospitalized due to severe exacerbation(s) were included in the study. These patients were treated by their respective physicians following current recommendations; health status was assessed daily using the CAT questionnaire. The CAT score, spirometry and recurrent hospitalizations were recorded one and three months after hospital discharge.

RESULTS: Global initiative for chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) stage was an independent determinant for increased CAT score during the first days of exacerbation with respect to postexacerbation values. From hospitalization day 5, the CAT score was similar to that obtained in the stable phase. Body mass index, GOLD stage and education level were related to health status recovery pattern. CAT score increase and the area under the curve of CAT recovery were inversely related to the forced expiratory volume in 1 s achieved three months after discharge (r= −0.606; P<0.001 and r= −0.532; P<0.001, respectively). Patients with recurrent hospitalizations showed higher CAT score increases and slower recovery.

CONCLUSIONS: The CAT detects early health status improvement during severe COPD exacerbations. Its initial worsening and recovery pattern are related to lung function and recurrent hospitalizations.