Clinical heterogeneity of a population of patients admitted to the Emergency Department with a diagnosis of COPD-exacerbation: Relevance of cardiovascular comorbidities

  • Paolo Groff | Emergency Department, Santa Maria della Misericordia Hospital, Perugia, Italy.
  • Giuseppina Petrelli Emergency Department, Madonna del Soccorso Hospital, San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy.
  • Paolo Giorgini Emergency Department, Madonna del Soccorso Hospital, San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy.
  • Roberto Pilotti Emergency Department, Madonna del Soccorso Hospital, San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy.
  • Vito Maurizio Parato Cardiology Unit, Madonna del Soccorso Hospital, San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy.
  • Andrea Fabbri Emergency Department, Morgagni-Pierantoni Hospital, Forlì, Italy.


FEV1-based Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) severity does not account for the complexity of the disease. Recent studies point to the high frequency of comorbidities responsible for unfavorable outcomes. There is a lack of data on this concerning the patient evaluated in the emergency setting. Aim of the study was to prospectively evaluate patients admitted to the ED for “exacerbated COPD” to describe their clinical heterogeneity and the influence that it may have on outcomes: death, length of hospitalization, exacerbation recurrence. The following data were recorded: history, symptoms, blood gas analysis, laboratory and radiological findings and comorbidities. Each patient underwent electrocardiography, echocardiography and spirometry. In order to identify a correlation between these variables and the selected outcomes, a multivariate linear logistic regression analysis was carried out. This study was conducted on 41 eligible patients consecutively admitted to the emergency room for exacerbated COPD. A consistent proportion showed ECG, Echocardiographic and laboratory abnormalities. At spirometry a FEV1 <30% of predicted was detected in 37% of patients. Cardiovascular comorbidities came out to be very frequent (hypertension, heart failure and coronary artery disease in particular). The history of heart failure was related to the risk of re-hospitalization within three months, while pneumonia, a low pH and a low FEV1 predicted a hospital stay >7 days. Our study shows that the term “exacerbated COPD” underscores a heterogeneous population, with a high prevalence of cardiovascular comorbidities, which significantly influence outcomes. Multicenter studies are needed to better investigate the clinical relevance of these findings.



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Original Articles
COPD exacerbation, COPD phenotypes, cardiovascular comorbidities, prognosis, emergency department
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How to Cite
Groff, P., Petrelli, G., Giorgini, P., Pilotti, R., Parato, V. M., & Fabbri, A. (2021). Clinical heterogeneity of a population of patients admitted to the Emergency Department with a diagnosis of COPD-exacerbation: Relevance of cardiovascular comorbidities. Emergency Care Journal, 17(1).