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Measurement of COPD severity using a survey-based score: validation in a clinically and physiologically characterized cohort

BACKGROUND: A comprehensive survey-based COPD severity score has usefulness for epidemiologic and health outcomes research. We previously developed and validated the survey-based COPD Severity Score without using lung function or other physiologic measurements. In this study, we aimed to further validate the severity score in a different COPD cohort and using a combination of patient-reported and objective physiologic measurements. METHODS: Using data from the Function, Living, Outcomes, and Work cohort study of COPD, we evaluated the concurrent and predictive validity of the COPD Severity Score among 1,202 subjects. The survey instrument is a 35-point score based on symptoms, medication and oxygen use, and prior hospitalization or intubation for COPD. Subjects were systemically assessed using structured telephone survey, spirometry, and 6-min walk testing. RESULTS: We found evidence to support concurrent validity of the score. Higher COPD Severity Score values were associated with poorer FEV(1) (r = -0.38), FEV(1)% predicted (r = -0.40), Body mass, Obstruction, Dyspnea, Exercise Index (r = 0.57), and distance walked in 6 min (r = -0.43) (P < .0001 in all cases). Greater COPD severity was also related to poorer generic physical health status (r = -0.49) and disease-specific health-related quality of life (r = 0.57) (P < .0001). The score also demonstrated predictive validity. It was also associated with a greater prospective risk of acute exacerbation of COPD defined as ED visits (hazard ratio [HR], 1.31; 95% CI, 1.24-1.39), hospitalizations (HR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.44-1.75), and either measure of hospital-based care for COPD (HR, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.26-1.41) (P < .0001 in all cases). CONCLUSION: The COPD Severity Score is a valid survey-based measure of disease-specific severity, both in terms of concurrent and predictive validity. The score is a psychometrically sound instrument for use in epidemiologic and outcomes research in COPD.

Authors: Eisner MD; Omachi TA; Katz PP; Yelin EH; Iribarren C; Blanc PD

Chest. 2010 Apr;137(4):846-51. Epub 2009 Dec 29.

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