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Am J Epidemiol. 2018 Oct 1;187(10):2109-2116. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwy087.

Identification of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Axes That Predict All-Cause Mortality: The COPDGene Study.

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Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado.
Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado.
Human Medical Genetics and Genomics Program, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado.
Division of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Office of Academic Affairs, National Jewish Health, Denver, Colorado.
Channing Division of Network Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts.
Department of Medicine, National Jewish Health, Denver, Colorado.
Department of Radiology, National Jewish Health, Denver, Colorado.
Department of Biostatistics and Informatics, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a syndrome caused by damage to the lungs that results in decreased pulmonary function and reduced structural integrity. Pulmonary function testing (PFT) is used to diagnose and stratify COPD into severity groups, and computed tomography (CT) imaging of the chest is often used to assess structural changes in the lungs. We hypothesized that the combination of PFT and CT phenotypes would provide a more powerful tool for assessing underlying morphologic differences associated with pulmonary function in COPD than does PFT alone. We used factor analysis of 26 variables to classify 8,157 participants recruited into the COPDGene cohort between January 2008 and June 2011 from 21 clinical centers across the United States. These factors were used as predictors of all-cause mortality using Cox proportional hazards modeling. Five factors explained 80% of the covariance and represented the following domains: factor 1, increased emphysema and decreased pulmonary function; factor 2, airway disease and decreased pulmonary function; factor 3, gas trapping; factor 4, CT variability; and factor 5, hyperinflation. After more than 46,079 person-years of follow-up, factors 1 through 4 were associated with mortality and there was a significant synergistic interaction between factors 1 and 2 on death. Considering CT measures along with PFT in the assessment of COPD can identify patients at particularly high risk for death.

[Available on 2019-10-01]

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