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Elevated blood eosinophils in acute COPD exacerbations: better short- and long-term prognosis

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Background: Elevated eosinophils in COPD is recognized as a potential risk factor for exacerbations, but the prognostic role of elevated eosinophils during exacerbations of COPD is unclear. We investigated short-term and long-term outcomes in patients with exacerbations of eosinophilic phenotype, compared with patients with low blood eosinophils. Methods: A single-centre retrospective study of all patients admitted for a COPD exacerbation to Bispebjerg University Hospital in 2010-2011 was established by linking inpatient data with national patient and prescription registries, with a three-year follow-up period. Elevated eosinophils were defined as a blood eosinophil level at admission of ≥0.30 × 109 cells/L. Results: A total of 811 patients were included; 13.2% had an eosinophilic exacerbation. The eosinophilic group had less need for non-invasive ventilation, shorter inpatient stay, and lower in-hospital mortality, compared to the non-eosinophilic group. However, the eosinophilic and non-eosinophilic groups showed similar risks of readmission (incidence rate ratio[95], 0.99 [0.73-1.36]). Three-year mortality was high in both groups, although lower in the eosinophilic group (40% vs. 54%, p = 0.006). Conclusions: COPD exacerbations in patients with high blood eosinophil have a better short-term prognosis without higher risk of subsequent exacerbation. Eosinophilic exacerbations have also a lower three-year mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1757274
JournalEuropean Clinical Respiratory Journal
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1757274
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

    Research areas

  • Chronic obstructive lung disease, COPD, eosinophil, exacerbation, mortality, readmission

ID: 60053448