Whether guideline-oriented pharmacotherapy prevents the decline in pulmonary function or reduces systemic inflammation associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is uncertain.
The aim of this study was to assess the outcome of COPD in clinical practice under real-world conditions in Taiwan as measured by pulmonary function and systemic inflammation parameters (C-reactive protein (CRP) or white blood cell (WBC)) after initiation of guideline-oriented pharmacotherapy.
Newly diagnosed COPD patients were enrolled and prospectively observed in real-world outpatient practice following initiation of pharmacotherapy of COPD. Pulmonary function, WBC and neutrophil counts, and CRP level of COPD patients were assessed annually. This study enrolled 566 patients and 263 returned for follow-up visits.
Significantly higher postbronchodilator FVC, FEV1, and FEV1/FVC but lower DLCO were found at 1 year compared to baseline values. During 4-year follow-up period, FVC and FEV1 remained stable. DLCO progressively declined compared to baseline. No significant changes were seen in CRP and neutrophil count over a 3-year period. Values of CRP, WBC, and neutrophil count correlated inversely with FEV1, FVC, FEV1/FVC, and DLCO.
Guideline-oriented pharmacotherapy of COPD improves airflow limitation but does not prevent the alveolar destruction and systemic inflammation under real-world conditions in Taiwan.