The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2011 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Thuy Nguyen, David Chang; University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL

Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)is a progressive condition that worsens with exacerbations. Some published studies indicate that the major causes of exacerbations include infections, smoking, air pollution, and other factors. No study has been done to document the causes of exacerbation for the patient population in a metropolitan area in a southeastern U.S. This study was conducted to determine whether factors associated with hospital admission for these patients have similar causes of exacerbation as the published studies. Methods: A total of 14 questions were developed to be used as a questionnaire for the study. The questions were based on published findings regarding to triggers of COPD exacerbation. Patients admitted to the hospital with COPD exacerbations were recruited from January 2011 to March 2011. A total of 21 patients participated in the study and were subjected to a questionnaire based interview during their hospitalization. Data regarding to their occupations, daily activities, exposure to pollution (chemical fumes or dust, or any indoor or outdoor pollutants) and smoking history (pack-years, exposure to second-hand smoke) were collected. Conditions involving shortness of breath, cough, or phlegm prior to admission, shortness of breath in cold weather, and shortness of breath when activity level is increased were recorded. Results: A total of 21 completed questionnaires were collected. The combined data (see figure) show that 13(62%) patients acquired respiratory infections or pneumonia prior to admission. Thirteen patients (62%) were current smokers while eight patients (38%) were nonsmokers. Seventeen out of 21 patients (81%) were exposed to second-hand smoke. Sixteen patients (76%) patients reported dyspnea and cough prior to admission. Twelve patients (57%) had short of breath in cold weather. Twelve patients (57%) encountered shortness of breath when activity level was increased. Eleven patients (52%) indicated that they had inhaled dust or exposed to chemical fumes at work. Nine (43%) were exposed to irritants including pets and cleaning products within their homes. Conclusions: The results show that second-hand smoke, infections, and smoking are the top three factors causing COPD exacerbations among the patients in this study. This information could be useful as an educational tool to the patients during their hospitalization. Sponsored Research - None
Findings reported by patients