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N Z Med J. 1997 Jul 25;110(1048):272-5.

Characteristics of patients admitted to hospital with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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Department of Medicine, University of Auckland.



To examine the characteristics of patients admitted to Auckland Hospital with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and to assess their management prior to hospitalisation.


Prospective survey of 99 patients admitted with COPD over an 8 week period. Of these, 80 patients were interviewed about their social circumstances, physical functioning, smoking habits and medical treatment. They also had their inhaler technique checked and FEV1 measured.


Subjects had a mean age of 70.6 years with a mean FEV1 of 29% of predicted. 45% lived alone and a third still smoked. The mean value for their usual physical functioning was 15.4 (possible 10-30) on the SF-36 health status questionnaire. 84% of all subjects used a beta-agonist, 50% an anticholinergic bronchodilator, 69% inhaled steroids, 18% oral steroids, and 19% theophylline. 40% used nebulised medication and only 6% had domiciliary oxygen. 40% reported having an influenza vaccination in the preceding year and 27% had participated in some form of pulmonary rehabilitation. The mean length of stay was 7.5 days.


Patients hospitalized for COPD report marked impairment in physical functioning, despite which many live alone. They frequently use inhaled and oral steroids, and nebulised medication, but only a minority had received an influenza vaccination or attended pulmonary rehabilitation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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