Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) represents a major global health problem; however, there are no data regarding clinical phenotypes of these patients in Austria.
This was an analysis from the Austrian cohort of the cross-sectional Phenotypes of COPD in Central and Eastern Europe (POPE) study, which was offered to patients with stable COPD in a real-life setting. Patients were recruited at 5 different outpatient facilities in 3 different provinces in Austria. All consecutive patients aged ≥40 years with a diagnosis of COPD confirmed by a post-bronchodilator forced expired volume in 1 s/forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC) ratio <0.7 during a stable state (≥4 weeks without exacerbation or worsening of any relevant comorbidities) were considered eligible. The primary aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of phenotypes according to predefined criteria. Secondary aims included analyses of differences in patient characteristics, symptom load, comorbidities, and pharmacological treatment.
Among 283 patients fulfilling the inclusion criteria, 49.5% were considered non-exacerbators, 21.6% were classified as exacerbators with chronic bronchitis, 21.2% exacerbators without chronic bronchitis, and 7.8% were patients with an asthma-COPD overlap. Exacerbators had significantly higher prevalence of symptoms, lower lung function and exercise capacity, and a higher prevalence of comorbidities, such as heart failure and depression, compared with the other patient phenotypes. A large majority of patients with stable COPD in this cohort received inhaled triple therapy, irrespective of exacerbation history.
There were significant differences in COPD outcome measures between predefined phenotypes of COPD in this study. The majority of patients with stable COPD in this Austrian population were not treated according to current COPD guidelines. While non-exacerbators appear to have been overtreated, patients with an asthma-COPD overlap appear to have been undertreated.