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Fatigue ‘linked with hospitalisation’ in COPD patients

Patients with COPD that report fatigue have a 10-fold increased risk of hospitalisation, say researchers.

The study looked at 100 patients with COPD attending pulmonary rehabilitation and assessed their fatigue and disease severity, and compared it to patients with other chronic conditions.

The third of COPD patients who reported the most intense levels of fatigue had over a 10-fold increased risk of hospitalisation than the third of patients with the lowest levels of fatigue (hazard ratio of 10.7).

 Severe levels of fatigue were also associated with longer hospital stays, compared to less severe levels.

When analysing levels of fatigue in comparison to patients with other chronic conditions, the cohort reported levels of fatigue similar to that of patients with colorectal cancer and HIV.

Study leader Dr Johanna Paddison, researcher at Repatriation General Hospital, Australia, said: ‘As hospitalisations for COPD can impact upon quality of life and have economic consequences, the results of this study have significant implications for the management of COPD.'

European Respiratory Journal 2012, available online 14 June