New tool to identify which patients with COPD are at risk of death

Clinical validation of a risk scale for serious outcomes among patients with COPD.

New tool to identify which patients with COPD are at risk of death
Image: Shutterstock

Scientists have developed a new decision tool that can potentially detect patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who are at high risk of serious complications.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, mainly caused by smoking, is a common condition that affects breathing and worsens over time. During the experiment with 1415 patients aged 50 years and older who presented at emergency departments with COPD flare-ups, scientists tested whether they could accurately predict short-term serious complications in these patients.

The tool effectively anticipated that 135 patients (9.5%) would have serious compliments in spite of the fact that 65 (8.3%) of genuine results happened in the 779 members who were not admitted to hospital.

Dr. Ian Stiell, distinguished professor of emergency medicine at the University of Ottawa said, “As this risk scale has been clinically validated, it can now be used to estimate medical risk and help with decisions about patient discharge or admission. This should help decrease unnecessary admissions as well as unsafe discharges of patients with COPD who should be admitted.”

The Ottawa COPD Risk Scale can be used by respirologists, general internists and family doctors who care for patients with COPD, in addition to emergency physicians.

Dr. Stiell is world-renowned for creating decision rules that improve patient care, including the Ottawa Ankle Rules and the Canadian C-Spine Rule, now available on a mobile app.

Scientists have published about the study in the journal CMAJ.