Acute exacerbations adversely affect patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Macrolide antibiotics benefit patients with a variety of inflammatory airway diseases.
We performed a randomized trial to determine whether azithromycin decreased the frequency of exacerbations in participants with COPD who had an increased risk of exacerbations but no hearing impairment, resting tachycardia, or apparent risk of prolongation of the corrected QT interval.
A total of 1577 subjects were screened; 1142 (72%) were randomly assigned to receive azithromycin, at a dose of 250 mg daily (570 participants), or placebo (572 participants) for 1 year in addition to their usual care. The rate of 1-year follow-up was 89% in the azithromycin group and 90% in the placebo group. The median time to the first exacerbation was 266 days (95% confidence interval [CI], 227 to 313) among participants receiving azithromycin, as compared with 174 days (95% CI, 143 to 215) among participants receiving placebo (P<0.001). The frequency of exacerbations was 1.48 exacerbations per patient-year in the azithromycin group, as compared with 1.83 per patient-year in the placebo group (P=0.01), and the hazard ratio for having an acute exacerbation of COPD per patient-year in the azithromycin group was 0.73 (95% CI, 0.63 to 0.84; P<0.001). The scores on the St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (on a scale of 0 to 100, with lower scores indicating better functioning) improved more in the azithromycin group than in the placebo group (a mean [±SD] decrease of 2.8±12.8 vs. 0.6±11.4, P=0.004); the percentage of participants with more than the minimal clinically important difference of −4 units was 43% in the azithromycin group, as compared with 36% in the placebo group (P=0.03). Hearing decrements were more common in the azithromycin group than in the placebo group (25% vs. 20%, P=0.04).
Among selected subjects with COPD, azithromycin taken daily for 1 year, when added to usual treatment, decreased the frequency of exacerbations and improved quality of life but caused hearing decrements in a small percentage of subjects. Although this intervention could change microbial resistance patterns, the effect of this change is not known. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00325897.)
Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are associated with accelerated loss of lung function and death. Identification of patients at risk for these events, particularly those requiring hospitalization, is of major importance. Severe pulmonary hypertension is an important complication of advanced COPD and predicts acute exacerbations, though pulmonary vascular abnormalities also occur early in the course of the disease. We hypothesized that a computed tomographic (CT) metric of pulmonary vascular disease (pulmonary artery enlargement, as determined by a ratio of the diameter of the pulmonary artery to the diameter of the aorta [PA:A ratio] of >1) would be associated with severe COPD exacerbations.
We conducted a multicenter, observational trial that enrolled current and former smokers with COPD. We determined the association between a PA:A ratio of more than 1 and a history at enrollment of severe exacerbations requiring hospitalization and then examined the usefulness of the ratio as a predictor of these events in a longitudinal follow-up of this cohort, as well as in an external validation cohort. We used logistic-regression and zero-inflated negative binomial regression analyses and adjusted for known risk factors for exacerbation.
Multivariate logistic-regression analysis showed a significant association between a PA:A ratio of more than 1 and a history of severe exacerbations at the time of enrollment in the trial (odds ratio, 4.78; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.43 to 6.65; P<0.001). A PA:A ratio of more than 1 was also independently associated with an increased risk of future severe exacerbations in both the trial cohort (odds ratio, 3.44; 95% CI, 2.78 to 4.25; P<0.001) and the external validation cohort (odds ratio, 2.80; 95% CI, 2.11 to 3.71; P<0.001). In both cohorts, among all the variables analyzed, a PA:A ratio of more than 1 had the strongest association with severe exacerbations.
Pulmonary artery enlargement (a PA:A ratio of >1), as detected by CT, was associated with severe exacerbations of COPD. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT00608764 and NCT00292552.)
Dental disease is largely preventable. Many older adults, however, experience poor oral health. National data for older adults show racial/ethnic and income disparities in untreated dental disease and oral health-related quality of life. Persons reporting poor versus good health also report lower oral health-related quality of life. On the basis of these findings, suggested public health priorities include better integrating oral health into medical care, implementing community programs to promote healthy behaviors and improve access to preventive services, developing a comprehensive strategy to address the oral health needs of the homebound and long-term-care residents, and assessing the feasibility of ensuring a safety net that covers preventive and basic restorative services to eliminate pain and infection.
IMPORTANCE Airflow obstruction on spirometry is universally used to define chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and current or former smokers without airflow obstruction may assume that they are disease free.OBJECTIVE To identify clinical and radiologic evidence of smoking-related disease in a cohort of current and former smokers who did not meet spirometric criteria for COPD, for whom we adopted the discarded label of Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) 0. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS Individuals from the Genetic Epidemiology of COPD (COPDGene) cross-sectional observational study completed spirometry, chest computed tomography (CT) scans, a 6-minute walk, and questionnaires. Participants were recruited from local communities at 21 sites across the United States. The GOLD 0 group (n = 4388) (ratio of forced expiratory volume in the first second of expiration [FEV 1 ] to forced vital capacity >0.7 and FEV 1 Ն80% predicted) from the COPDGene study was compared with a GOLD 1 group (n = 794), COPD groups (n = 3690), and a group of never smokers (n = 108). Recruitment began in January 2008 and ended in July 2011.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURESPhysical function impairments, respiratory symptoms, CT abnormalities, use of respiratory medications, and reduced respiratory-specific quality of life.RESULTS One or more respiratory-related impairments were found in 54.1% (2375 of 4388) of the GOLD 0 group. The GOLD 0 group had worse quality of life (mean [SD] St George's Respiratory Questionnaire total score, 17.0 [18.0] vs 3.8 [6.8] for the never smokers; P < .001) and a lower 6-minute walk distance, and 42.3% (127 of 300) of the GOLD 0 group had CT evidence of emphysema or airway thickening. The FEV 1 percent predicted distribution and mean for the GOLD 0 group were lower but still within the normal range for the population. Current smoking was associated with more respiratory symptoms, but former smokers had greater emphysema and gas trapping. Advancing age was associated with smoking cessation and with more CT findings of disease. Individuals with respiratory impairments were more likely to use respiratory medications, and the use of these medications was associated with worse disease.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCELung disease and impairments were common in smokers without spirometric COPD. Based on these results, we project that there are 35 million current and former smokers older than 55 years in the United States who may have unrecognized disease or impairment. The effect of chronic smoking on the lungs and the individual is substantially underestimated when using spirometry alone.
Retrospective studies have shown that statins decrease the rate and severity of exacerbations, the rate of hospitalization, and mortality in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We prospectively studied the efficacy of simvastatin in preventing exacerbations in a large, multicenter, randomized trial.
We designed the Prospective Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial of Simvastatin in the Prevention of COPD Exacerbations (STATCOPE) as a randomized, controlled trial of simvastatin (at a daily dose of 40 mg) versus placebo, with annual exacerbation rates as the primary outcome. Patients were eligible if they were 40 to 80 years of age, had COPD (defined by a forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1] of less than 80% and a ratio of FEV1 to forced vital capacity of less than 70%), and had a smoking history of 10 or more pack-years, were receiving supplemental oxygen or treatment with glucocorticoids or antibiotic agents, or had had an emergency department visit or hospitalization for COPD within the past year. Patients with diabetes or cardiovascular disease and those who were taking statins or who required statins on the basis of Adult Treatment Panel III criteria were excluded. Participants were treated from 12 to 36 months at 45 centers.
A total of 885 participants with COPD were enrolled for approximately 641 days; 44% of the patients were women. The patients had a mean (±SD) age of 62.2±8.4 years, an FEV1 that was 41.6±17.7% of the predicted value, and a smoking history of 50.6±27.4 pack-years. At the time of study closeout, the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels were lower in the simvastatin-treated patients than in those who received placebo. The mean number of exacerbations per person-year was similar in the simvastatin and placebo groups: 1.36±1.61 exacerbations and 1.39±1.73 exacerbations, respectively (P = 0.54). The median number of days to the first exacerbation was also similar: 223 days (95% confidence interval [CI], 195 to 275) and 231 days (95% CI, 193 to 303), respectively (P = 0.34). The number of nonfatal serious adverse events per person-year was similar, as well: 0.63 events with simvastatin and 0.62 events with placebo. There were 30 deaths in the placebo group and 28 in the simvastatin group (P = 0.89).
Simvastatin at a daily dose of 40 mg did not affect exacerbation rates or the time to a first exacerbation in patients with COPD who were at high risk for exacerbations. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; STATCOPE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01061671.)
Previous studies of lung function in relation to smoking cessation have not adequately quantified the long-term benefit of smoking cessation, nor established the predictive value of characteristics such as airway hyperresponsiveness. In a prospective randomized clinical trial at 10 North American medical centers, we studied 3, 926 smokers with mild-to-moderate airway obstruction (3,818 with analyzable results; mean age at entry, 48.5 yr; 36% women) randomized to one of two smoking cessation groups or to a nonintervention group. We measured lung function annually for 5 yr. Participants who stopped smoking experienced an improvement in FEV(1) in the year after quitting (an average of 47 ml or 2%). The subsequent rate of decline in FEV(1) among sustained quitters was half the rate among continuing smokers, 31 +/- 48 versus 62 +/- 55 ml (mean +/- SD), comparable to that of never-smokers. Predictors of change in lung function included responsiveness to beta-agonist, baseline FEV(1), methacholine reactivity, age, sex, race, and baseline smoking rate. Respiratory symptoms were not predictive of changes in lung function. Smokers with airflow obstruction benefit from quitting despite previous heavy smoking, advanced age, poor baseline lung function, or airway hyperresponsiveness.
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