Independent effect of prior exacerbation frequency and disease severity on the risk of future exacerbations of COPD: a retrospective cohort study
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AuthorSantibáñez Margüello, Miguel; Garrastazu, R; Rúiz Nuñez, M; Helguera, JM; Arenal, S; Bonnardeux, C; León, C; Miravitlles, M; García Rivero, JL
Few studies have researched the independent effect of COPD severity on the risk of future exacerbations adjusted by previous exacerbation frequency. We aimed to analyse the independent effect of COPD severity on the risk of exacerbations in the following year, and whether this effect was stronger or not than the effect of a previous history of exacerbations. We conducted a retrospective population-based cohort study including 900 patients with confirmed COPD. Exacerbation frequency was observed for the previous year and for the following year. Patients were defined as ‘Frequent Exacerbator’ (FE) phenotype if they suffered ?2 exacerbations in a year, and were categorised according to the severity of COPD (GOLD Grades 1–4). Odds ratios (ORs) were estimated by logistic regression adjusting for age, gender, smoking status, severity of COPD and being FE in the previous year. The main predictor of being FE among all grades of COPD severity was a history of frequent exacerbations in the previous year: adjusted OR 4.97; 95% confidence interval (CI) (3.54–6.97). COPD severity was associated with a higher risk of being FE: Crude OR GOLD Grade 4 3.86; 95% CI (1.50–9.93). However, this association diminished after adjusting for being FE in the previous year: adjusted OR 2.08; 95% CI (0.75–5.82). Our results support that a history of frequent exacerbations in the previous year is the most important independent predictor of exacerbations in the following year, also among the most severe COPD patients. Severity of COPD would be associated with a higher risk of exacerbations, but this effect would be partly determined by the exacerbations suffered in the previous year.