Predictive factors over time of health-related quality of life in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients
Background: Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) should be seen as a tool that provides an overall view of the general clinical condition of a COPD patient. The aims of this study were to identify variables associated with HRQoL and whether they continue to have an influence in the medium term, during follow-up. Methods: Overall, 543 patients with COPD were included in this prospective observational longitudinal study. At all four visits during a 5-year follow-up, the patients completed the Saint George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ), pulmonary function tests, the 6-min walk test (6MWT), and a physical activity (PA) questionnaire, among others measurements. Data on hospitalization for COPD exacerbations and comorbidities were retrieved from the personal electronic clinical record of each patient at every visit. Results: The best fit to the data of the cohort was obtained with a beta-binomial distribution. The following variables were related over time to SGRQ components: age, inhaled medication, smoking habit, forced expiratory volume in one second, handgrip strength, 6MWT distance, body mass index, residual volume, diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide, PA (depending on level, 13 to 35% better HRQoL, in activity and impacts components), and hospitalizations (5 to 45% poorer HRQoL, depending on the component). Conclusions: Among COPD patients, HRQoL was associated with the same variables throughout the study period (5-year follow-up), and the variables with the strongest influence were PA and hospitalizations.