Occupational Asthma Reference

Bridevaux P-O, Gerbase MW, Probst-Hensch NM, Schindler C, Gaspoz J-M, Rochat T, Long-term decline in lung function, utilisation of care and quality of life in modified GOLD stage 1 COPD, Thorax, 2008;63:768-774,doi:10.1136/thx.2007.093724


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T Rochat, Geneva T Rochat

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Little is known about the long-term outcomes of individuals with mild chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as defined by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD).

A population cohort of 6671 randomly selected adults without asthma was stratified into categories of modified GOLD-defined COPD (prebronchodilator spirometry). Further stratification was based on the presence or absence of respiratory symptoms. After 11 years, associations between baseline categories of COPD and decline in forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), respiratory care utilisation and quality of life as measured by the SF-36 questionnaire were examined after controlling for age, sex, smoking and educational status.

At baseline, modified GOLD criteria were met by 610 (9.1%) participants, 519 (85.1%) of whom had stage 1 COPD. At follow-up, individuals with symptomatic stage 1 COPD (n = 224) had a faster decline in FEV1 (29 ml/ year (95% CI 213 to 25)), increased respiratory care utilisation (OR 1.6 (95% CI 1.0 to 2.6)) and a lower quality of life than asymptomatic subjects with normal lung function (n = 3627, reference group). In contrast, individuals with asymptomatic stage 1 COPD (n = 295) had no significant differences in FEV1 decline (23 ml/year (95% CI 27 to +1)), respiratory care utilisation (OR 1.05 (95% CI 0.63 to 1.73)) or quality of life scores compared
with the reference group.

In population-based studies, respiratory symptoms are of major importance for predicting longterm clinical outcomes in subjects with COPD with mild obstruction. Population studies based on spirometry only may misestimate the prevalence of clinically relevant COPD.

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