A recent study entitled “Chronic Bronchitis is Associated with Worse Symptoms and Quality of Life than Chronic Airflow Obstruction” was published in Chest by Dr. Paula Meek, first author from the College of Nursing at University of Colorado-Denver, and Dr. Yohannes Tesfaigzi, senior author from the COPD Research Program at Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute in Albuquerque, NM, along with colleagues. The study suggested that among individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, those with chronic bronchitis present worse quality of life symptoms and mental health than individuals with chronic airway obstruction.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to a group of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis (CB), emphysema phenotypes and chronic obstructive airways disease (CAO). COPD is a frequent and treatable respiratory condition but is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the world. While COPD diagnosed cases are predicted to be present in 1.3% of the population, it’s known that 50-80% of patients with clinically significant disease are not diagnosed and ineffectively treated, making the identification of these patients a priority. It has been suggested that emphysema or chronic airway obstruction (CAO) is associated with worse quality of life than CB, however this assumption has never been evaluated.
In the present study the authors analyzed the Lovelace Smokers’ Cohort (LSC) and COPDGene Cohort databases. They used the Saint George Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) to measure health impairment in patients with asthma and COPD, and the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item short-form survey (SF-36), a set of generic, coherent, and easily administered quality-of-life measures, to evaluate quality of life and symptoms of patients with COPD. They found that although in both cohorts there was similar SGRQ Activity and SF-36 Role physical and physical functioning, in the CB only group the measurements of SGRQ and SF-36 were worse. After statistical analysis, the CB only group remained a significant predictor for worse symptoms and emotional and social measures.
“In our analysis, mental health, social functioning and well-being were important contributors to difference in quality of life between groups since these variables were associated with relatively larger parameter estimates in the multivariate analysis in both cohorts,” wrote the researchers.