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J Tradit Chin Med. 2013 Oct;33(5):608-14.

Correlation between lower gastrointestinal tract symptoms and quality of life in patients with stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.



To explore correlations between the symptoms of constipation and abdominal distention and severity of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in patients with stable disease.


We studied 191 patients with stable COPD (according to defined criteria) in this cross-sectional study from four three-level class A Chinese medicine hospitals in China. We built an Epidata 3.0 database and performed statistical analysis with SPSS, version 17.0. We analyzed correlations between the frequency of lower gastrointestinal tract symptoms (constipation and abdominal distention) and scores for major pulmonary symptoms (cough, sputum and wheezing) based on the St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ), 6-minute walking distance (6MWD) and frequency of acute exacerbations of COPD (AECOPD).


In addition to their pulmonary symptoms, 39.79% and 40.31% of study patients with stable COPD reported constipation and abdominal distention, respectively. Scores for major pulmonary symptoms (cough, sputum and wheezing), AECOPD and SGRQ values in patients with constipation and abdominal distention were significantly greater, and the 6MWD markedly shorter, than in those without them. According to Pearson's correlation analysis, there were strong correlations between these lower gastrointestinal tract symptoms and scores for pulmonary symptoms, SGRQ, 6MWD and AECOPD.


Lower gastrointestinal tract symptoms such as constipation and abdominal distention can adversely affect pulmonary symptoms, frequency of acute exacerbations and quality of life in patients with stable COPD.

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