The following is a summary of “Change in physical activity related to admission for exacerbation in COPD patients,” published in the April 2023 issue of Pulmonology by Esteban, et al.

For a study, researchers sought to investigate the impact of hospitalization on physical activity (PA) levels and identify other factors associated with changes in PA. 

The study used a prospective observational cohort design, with a nested case-control study and a 60-day follow-up from the index hospital admission involving nine hospitals. Consecutive patients were recruited, and various variables and questionnaires were recorded, including the COPD Assessment Test (CAT), the Hospital Anxiety-Depression Scale (HADS), comorbidities, and the Yale Physical Activity Survey. Data on patients’ admission and up to two months after discharge were also recorded.

The study involved 883 patients, of whom 79.7% were male, the mean FEV1 was 48%, and the Charlson index was 2.0. Additionally, 28.7% were active smokers, and the baseline PA level for the entire sample was 23 points. Patients who were readmitted within two months of the index admission had a statistically significant decrease in PA levels compared to those who were not readmitted (17 vs. 27, P < 0.0001). Multivariable linear regression analysis revealed several predictors of a decrease in PA levels from baseline (index admission) to two months of follow-up, including admission for COPD exacerbation in the two months before the index admission, readmission within two months of the index admission, worse CAT score, patient-reported “need for help,” and baseline HAD depressive symptoms.

In conclusion, the study found a strong association between hospitalization for exacerbation and PA levels in a cohort of admitted COPD patients. Furthermore, the study identified several other potentially modifiable factors associated with changes in PA levels after hospitalization.