Patterns, Trajectories, and Predictors of Functional Decline after Hospitalization for Acute Exacerbations in Men with Moderate to Severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Longitudinal Study

Medina Mirapeix, Francesc
Bernabeu Mora, Roberto
García Guillamón, Gloria
Valera Novella, Elisa
Gacto Sánchez, Mariano
García Vidal, José A.
Hospitalization for acute exacerbations (AE) of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is common, but little is known about the impact of hospitalization on the development of disability. The purpose of this study was to determine the rate and time course of functional changes 3 months after hospital discharge for AE-COPD compared with baseline levels 2 weeks before admission, and to identify predictors of functional decline. Methods This was a prospective study including 103 patients (age mean, 71 years; standard deviation, 9.1 years) who were hospitalized with AE-COPD. Number of dependencies in Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) was measured at the preadmission baseline and at weeks 6 and 12 after discharge. Patterns of improvement, no change, and decline were defined over 3 consecutive intervals (baseline and weeks 6 and 12). Trajectories grouped patients with similar time courses of disability. Recovery was defined as returning to baseline function after functional decline. Univariate and multivariate multiple logistic regression was used to determine predictors of functional decline after week 12. Results Six trajectories of functional changes were found. From baseline to 12 weeks, 50% of patients continued to have the same function whereas 31% experienced functional decline after 6 weeks; 16.7% recovered over subsequent weeks. At week 12, as a consequence of all trajectories, 38% of patients showed functional declines compared with baseline function, 57% had not declined, and 6 improved. Length of stay (odds ratio [OR] = 1.12;95% [confidence interval] CI 1.03–1.22), dyspnea (OR = 1.85; 95% CI 1.05–3.26), and frailty (OR = 3.97; 95% CI 1.13–13.92) were independent predictors of functional decline after 12 weeks. Conclusions Hospitalization for AE-COPD is a risk factor for the progression of disability. More than one third of patients hospitalized for AE-COPD declined during the 12 weeks following discharge, with most of this decline occurring by week 6 ​
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