[Quality of life with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: the influence of level of patient care].


OBJECTIVE The aim of the study was to determine the factors related to the health-related quality of life (HRQL) of patients with stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and to assess the degree of influence of level of patient care (primary or specialized). MATERIAL AND METHOD An observational descriptive, cross-sectional, multicenter study was carried out. The study sample was a randomized selection taken from a stratified sample of patients treated by primary care physicians and pneumologists from each Spanish region. Only those patients whose level of health care was indicated and whose diagnosis of COPD was confirmed by spirometry were enrolled in the study. RESULTS Five hundred sixty patients were assessed, 100 from primary health care and 460 from pneumology practices. No significant differences between the 2 levels of care were found in the scores on the HRQL questionnaire (Spanish version of the St George's Respiratory Questionnaire). There was a weak correlation between patients' perception of health and lung function parameters. Factors related to HRQL in the multivariate analysis were dyspnea, the presence of COPD exacerbations in the previous year, consequent visits to the emergency department, age, and degree of airflow restriction, but not level of patient care. CONCLUSIONS Stable COPD patients' HRQL is not related to their level of care, be it primary or specialized, but is related to other factors such as dyspnea, presence of exacerbations or consequent visits to the emergency department, age, and degree of airflow restriction.


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