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Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2009;4:61-77. Epub 2009 Apr 15.

Focusing on outcomes: making the most of COPD interventions.

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  • 1Center for Managing Chronic Disease, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029, USA. nmclark@umich.edu


A number of excellent intervention studies related to clinical and psychosocial aspects of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have been undertaken in the recent past. A range of outcomes have been examined including pulmonary function, health care use, quality of life, anxiety and depression, ambulation, exercise capacity, and self-efficacy. The purpose of this narrative review was to a) consider clinical, psychosocial, and educational interventions for people living with COPD in light of the health related outcomes that they have produced, b) identify the type of interventions most associated with outcomes, c) examine work related to COPD interventions as it has evolved regarding theory and models compared to work in asthma, and d) explore implications for future COPD research. Studies reviewed comprised large scale comprehensive reviews including randomized clinical trials and meta-analysis as these forms of investigation engender the greatest confidence in clinicians and health care researchers. Extant research suggests that the most significant improvements in COPD health care utilization have been realized from interventions specifically designed to enhance disease management by patients. A range of interventions have produced modest changes in quality of life. Evidence of impact for other outcomes and for a particular type of intervention is not strong. Research in other chronic diseases, particularly asthma, suggests that interventions grounded in learning theory and models of behavior change can consistently produce desired results for patients and clinicians. Use of a model of self-regulation may enhance COPD interventions. Although the extent to which COPD efforts can benefit from the experience in other conditions is a question, more outcome focused intervention studies using more robust theoretical approaches may enhance COPD results, especially regarding health care use and quality of life.

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