A clinical study of pulmonary function tests in patients with COPD exacerbation

Shivaraj A. L., Arun B. J., George A. D'Souza, Niranjan Nagaraj


Background: COPD is now recognized as an important cause of morbidity and mortality world over. This study aims to assess the serial change in spirometric values and 6-minute walking distance in COPD patients following exacerbation.

Methods: A prospective study of 40 patients who were admitted to St. Johns Medical College Hospital with Acute Exacerbation of COPD. After proper history, initial assessment and evaluation, appropriate treatment started according to standard hospital protocols. Spirometry and 6-minute walk distance (6MWD) was done at discharge and at an interval of two and six months during follow up. All the collected data was tabulated and statistically analysed by using software’s SAS 9.2, SPSS 15.0.

Results: Among the 40 patients studied, there was a 9.18% drop in FVC (from 2.83 litres to 2.57 litres), 13.26% change in the FEV1/FVC ratio with a mean drop of 150 ml in FEV1 (1.5 litres to 1.35 litres) and 25 meters decline of 6MWD from 391.45 to 366.63 over 6 months follow up period, although none of them were statistically significant.

Conclusions: A drop in FEV1 and (6MWD) minute walk distance was found in our study population over 6 months follow period after COPD exacerbations which is in line with the various study reports available in the literature reinforcing the fact that patients with increased airway inflammation show faster decline in FEV1.


COPD, Exacerbation, Pulmonary function, Spirometry

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