Management of asthma and COPD patients: feasibility of the application of guidelines in general practice.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the feasibility of the application of guidelines to the management of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by assessing compliance with the guidelines and listing the barriers general practitioners (GPs) encountered during implementation. Insight into the feasibility of individual items in the guidelines can guide implementation strategies in the future and, if necessary, support revision of the guidelines. DESIGN: Descriptive study of care delivered during the implementation of guidelines by means of documentation of the care provided, education, feedback on compliance and peer review. SETTING: General practice. STUDY PARTICIPANTS: Sixteen GPs in 14 general practices. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Compliance was expressed as the percentage of patients per practice managed by the GPs according to the guidelines. For each patient (n=413) data were collected on the care delivered during the first year of the implementation. Barriers encountered were derived from the summaries of the discussions held during the monthly meetings. RESULTS: The GPs were most compliant on the items 'PEFR measurement at every consultation' (98%), 'allergy test' (78%) and 'advice to stop smoking' (82%), and less compliant on the items 'four or more consultations a year' (46%), 'ordering spirometry' (33%), 'adjustment of medication' (42%), 'check on inhalation technique' (38%) and referral to a chest physician (17%) or a district nurse (5%). The main barriers were the amount of time to be invested, doubts about the necessity of regular consultations and about the indications for ordering spirometry and for referral to a chest physician or a district nurse. CONCLUSION: Although the feasibility was assessed in a fairly optimal situation, compliance with the guidelines was not maximal, and differed between the individual items of care. Suggestions are given for further improvements in compliance with the guidelines and for revision of the guidelines. (+info
Predisposing factors to bacterial colonization in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The aim of this prospective observational study was to determine those factors influencing bacterial colonization in patients with stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Eighty-eight outpatients with stable COPD and 20 patients with normal spirometry and chest radiography (controls) had a fibreoptic bronchoscopy performed with topical aerosol anaesthesia. Bacterial colonization was determined using the protected specimen brush (PSB) with a cut-off > or = 10(3) colony-forming units (CFU x mL(-1)). The influence of age, degree of airflow obstruction, smoking habit, pack-yrs of smoking, and chest radiographic findings on bacterial colonization were assessed by univariate and multivariate analysis. Significant bacterial growth was found in 40% of patients and in none of the controls. Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus viridans, S. pneumoniae and Moraxella catarrhalis were the most frequent pathogens. After adjustment for other variables, severe airflow limitation (odds ratio (OR) 5.11, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.45-17.9) and current smoking (OR 3.17, 95% CI 2.5-8) remained associated with positive bacterial cultures. When only potentially pathogenic micro-organisms were considered, significant bacterial growth was found in 30.7% of patients, with severe airflow obstruction (OR 9.28, 95% CI 2.19-39.3) being the only variable independently associated with positive bacterial cultures. Our results show that stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients have a high prevalence of bacterial colonization of distal airways which is mainly related to the degree of airflow obstruction and cigarette smoking. (+info
Differences in spontaneous breathing pattern and mechanics in patients with severe COPD recovering from acute exacerbation.
The aims of this study were to assess spontaneous breathing patterns in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) recovering from acute exacerbation and to assess the relationship between different breathing patterns and clinical and functional parameters of respiratory impairment. Thirty-four COPD patients underwent assessment of lung function tests, arterial blood gases, haemodynamics, breathing pattern (respiratory frequency (fR), tidal volume (VT), inspiratory and expiratory time (tI and tE), duty cycle (tI/ttot), VT/tI) and mechanics (oesophageal pressure (Poes), work of breathing (WOB), pressure-time product and index, and dynamic intrinsic positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEPi,dyn)). According to the presence (group 1) or absence (group 2) of Poes swings during the expiratory phase (premature inspiration), 20 (59%) patients were included in group 1 and 14 (41%) in group 2. Premature inspirations were observed 4.5+/-6.4 times x min(-1) (range 1-31), i.e. 20+/-21% (3.7-100%) of total fR calculated from VT tracings. In group 1 the coefficient of variation in VT, tE, tI/ttot, PEEPi,dyn, Poes and WOB of the eight consecutive breaths immediately preceding the premature inspiration was greater than that of eight consecutive breaths in group 2. There were no significant differences in the assessed parameters between the two groups in the overall population, whereas patients with chronic hypoxaemia in group 1 showed a more severe impairment in clinical conditions, mechanics and lung function than hypoxaemic patients in group 2. In spontaneously breathing patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease recovering from an acute exacerbation, detectable activity of inspiratory muscles during expiration was found in more than half of the cases. This phenomenon was not associated with any significant differences in anthropometric, demographic, physiological or clinical characteristics. (+info
Subcellular adaptation of the human diaphragm in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Pulmonary hyperinflation impairs the function of the diaphragm in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, it has been recently demonstrated that the muscle can counterbalance this deleterious effect, remodelling its structure (i.e. changing the proportion of different types of fibres). The aim of this study was to investigate whether the functional impairment present in COPD patients can be associated with structural subcellular changes of the diaphragm. Twenty individuals (60+/-9 yrs, 11 COPD patients and 9 subjects with normal spirometry) undergoing thoracotomy were included. Nutritional status and respiratory function were evaluated prior to surgery. Then, small samples of the costal diaphragm were obtained and processed for electron microscopy analysis. COPD patients showed a mean forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) of 60+/-9% predicted, a higher concentration of mitochondria (n(mit)) in their diaphragm than controls (0.62+/-0.16 versus 0.46+/-0.16 mitochondrial transections (mt) x microm(-2), p<0.05). On the other hand, subjects with air trapping (residual volume (RV)/total lung capacity (TLC) >37%) disclosed not only a higher n(mit) (0.63+/-0.17 versus 0.43+/-0.07 mt x microm(-2), p<0.05) but shorter sarcomeres (L(sar)) than subjects without this functional abnormality (2.08+/-0.16 to 2.27+/-0.15 microm, p<0.05). Glycogen stores were similar in COPD and controls. The severity of airways obstruction (i.e. FEV1) was associated with n(mit) (r=-0.555, p=0.01), while the amount of air trapping (i.e. RV/TLC) was found to correlate with both n(mit) (r=0.631, p=0.005) and L(sar) (r=-0.526, p<0.05). Finally, maximal inspiratory pressure (PI,max) inversely correlated with n(mit) (r=-0.547, p=0.01). In conclusion, impairment in lung function occurring in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is associated with subcellular changes in their diaphragm, namely a shortening in the length of sarcomeres and an increase in the concentration of mitochondria. These changes form a part of muscle remodelling, probably contributing to a better functional muscle behaviour. (+info
Acute saline infusion reduces alveolar-capillary membrane conductance and increases airflow obstruction in patients with left ventricular dysfunction.
BACKGROUND: Impaired alveolar-capillary membrane conductance is the major cause for the reduction in pulmonary diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (DLCO) in heart failure. Whether this reduction is fixed, reflecting pulmonary microvascular damage, or is variable is unknown. The aim of this study was to assess whether DLCO and its subdivisions, alveolar-capillary membrane conductance (DM) and pulmonary capillary blood volume (Vc), were sensitive to changes in intravascular volume. In addition, we examined the effects of volume loading on airflow rates. METHODS AND RESULTS: Ten patients with left ventricular dysfunction (LVD) and 8 healthy volunteers were studied. DM and Vc were determined by the Roughton and Forster method. The forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), vital capacity, and peak expiratory flow rates (PEFR) were also recorded. In patients with LVD, infusion of 10 mL. kg-1 body wt of 0.9% saline acutely reduced DM (12.0+/-3.3 versus 10.4+/-3.5 mmol. min-1. kPa-1, P<0.005), FEV1 (2.3+/-0.4 versus 2.1+/-0.4 L, P<0.0005), and PEFR (446+/-55 versus 414+/-56 L. min-1, P<0.005). All pulmonary function tests had returned to baseline values 24 hours later. In normal subjects, saline infusion had no measurable effect on lung function. CONCLUSIONS: Acute intravascular volume expansion impairs alveolar-capillary membrane function and increases airflow obstruction in patients with LVD but not in normal subjects. Thus, the abnormalities of pulmonary diffusion in heart failure, which were believed to be fixed, also have a variable component that could be amenable to therapeutic intervention. (+info
Mediators of anaphylaxis but not activated neutrophils augment cholinergic responses of equine small airways.
Neutrophilic inflammation in small airways (SA) and bronchospasm mediated via muscarinic receptors are features of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in horses (COPD). Histamine, serotonin, and leukotrienes (LTs) are reported to be involved in the exacerbation of COPD, and currently, histamine has been shown to increase tension response to electrical field simulation (EFS) in equine SA. We tested the effects of these mediators and the effects of activated neutrophils on the cholinergic responses in SA. Histamine, serotonin, and LTD4 had a synergistic effect on EFS responses and only an additive effect on the tension response to exogenous ACh or methacholine. Atropine and TTX entirely eliminated the EFS-induced tension response in the presence of all three inflammatory mediators, indicating that augmentation of the EFS response applies only to the endogenous cholinergic response. Neutrophils isolated from control and COPD-affected horses were activated by zymosan, producing 18.1 +/- 2.3 and 25.0 +/- 2.3 nmol superoxide. 10(6) cells-1. 30 min-1, respectively. However, in contrast to the profound effect of mediators, incubation of SA for over 1 h in a suspension of up to 30 x 10(6) zymosan-treated neutrophils/ml did not significantly affect EFS responses of SA isolated from either control or COPD-affected horses. We conclude that in equine SA 1) the endogenous cholinergic responses are subject to strong facilitation by inflammatory mediators; 2) activated neutrophils do not affect cholinergic responses in SA; and 3) in acute bouts of equine COPD, histamine, LTD4, and serotonin (mediators primarily associated with type I allergic reaction) rather than mediators derived from neutrophils most likely contribute to increased cholinergic airway tone. (+info
Time course of respiratory decompensation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a prospective, double-blind study of peak flow changes prior to emergency department visits.
The aim of this study was to look at changes in peak expiratory flow rates (PEFR) prior to emergency department visits for decompensated chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It was designed as a prospective, double-blind study at the Albuquerque Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Twelve patients with an irreversible component of airflow obstruction on pulmonary function tests were assessed. At entry, all subjects were instructed in the use of a mini-Wright peak flow meter with electronic data storage. They then entered a 6-month monitoring phase in which they recorded PEFR twice daily, before and after bronchodilators. The meter displays were disabled so that the patients and their physicians were blinded to all values. Medical care was provided in the customary manner. Patients were considered to have respiratory decompensation if they required treatment for airflow obstruction in the Emergency Department (ED) and no other causes of dyspnea could be identified. Simple linear regression was used to model changes in PEFR over time. The 12 subjects had 22 episodes of respiratory decompensation during 1741 patient-days of observation. Two episodes could not be analysed because of missing values. Ten episodes in seven subjects were characterized by a significant linear decline in at least one peak flow parameter prior to presentation. The mean rates of change for the four daily parameters varied from 0.22% to 0.27% predicted per day (or 1.19 to 1.44 1 min-1 day-1). The average decrement in these parameters ranged from 30.0 to 33.8 1 min-1 (or 18.6%-25.9% of their baseline values). No temporal trends were found for the 10 episodes occurring in the other five subjects. We concluded that respiratory decompensation is characterized by a gradual decline in PEFR in about half of cases. Future studies should be done to elucidate the mechanisms of respiratory distress in the other cases. (+info
Pulmonary embolism: one-year follow-up with echocardiography doppler and five-year survival analysis.
BACKGROUND: The long-term prognosis for patients with pulmonary embolism (PE) is dependent on the underlying disease, degree of pulmonary hypertension (PH), and degree of right ventricular (RV) dysfunction. A precise description of the time course of pulmonary artery pressure (PAsP)/RV function is therefore of importance for the early identification of persistent PH/RV dysfunction in patients treated for acute PE. Other objectives were to identify variables associated with persistent PH/RV dysfunction and to analyze the 5-year survival rate for patients alive 1 month after inclusion. METHODS AND RESULTS: Echocardiography Doppler was performed in 78 patients with acute PE at the time of diagnosis and repeatedly during the next year. A 5-year survival analysis was made. The PAsP decreased exponentially until the beginning of a stable phase, which was 50 mm Hg at the time of diagnosis of acute PE was associated with persistent PH after 1 year. The 5-year mortality rate was associated with underlying disease. Only patients with persistent PH in the stable phase required pulmonary thromboendarterectomy within 5 years. CONCLUSIONS: An echocardiography Doppler investigation performed 6 weeks after diagnosis of acute PE can identify patients with persistent PH/RV dysfunction and may be of value in planning the follow-up and care of these patients. (+info