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Original Research

The Changes of Pulmonary Function in COPD During Four-Year Period

Vesna Cukic, Vladimir Lovre, Aida Ustamujic.


Introduction: COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is characterized by airflow limitation that is not fully reversible. OBJECTIVE: to show the changes of pulmonary function in COPD during the 4 -year evolution of illness. Material and Methods: The research was done on patients suffering from COPD treated at the Clinic “Podhrastovi” during 2006 and 2007. The tested parameters were examined from the date of receiving patient with COPD to hospital treatment in 2006 and 2007 and then followed prospectively until 2010 or 2011 (the follow-up period was 4 years). There were total 199 treated patients who were chosen at random and regularly attended the control examinations. The study was conducted on adult patients of both sexes, different age group. In each patient the duration of illness was recorded so is sex, age, data of smoking habits, information about the regularity of taking bronchodilator therapy during remissions of disease, about the treatment of disease exacerbations, results of pulmonary functional tests as follows : FVC (forced vital capacity), FEV1 ( forced expiratory volume in one second) and bronchodilator reversibility testing. All these parameters were measured at the beginning and at the end of each hospital treatment on the apparatuses of Clinic “Podhrastovi”. We took in elaboration those data obtained in the beginning of the first hospitalization and at the end of the last hospitalization or at the last control in outpatient department when patient was in stable state. Patients were divided into three groups according to the number of exacerbations per year. Results: airflow limitation in COPD is progressive; both FVC and FEV1 shows the statistically significant decrease during follow-up period of 4 years (p values / for both parameters/ =0.05) . But in patients regularly treated in phases of remission and exacerbations of illness the course of illness is slower. The fall of FVC and FEV1 is statistically significantly smaller in those received regular treatment in phases of remissions and exacerbations of illness (p values / for both parameters/ =0.01). The number of patients responding properly to bronchodilators decreased statistically significantly in patients with COPD during follow-up period (p=0.05). Conclusion: COPD is characterized with airflow limitation which is progressive in the course of illness , but that course may be made slower using appropriate treatment during remission and exacerbations of diseases.

Key words: COPD, FVC, FEV1, airflow limitation, treatment, bronchodilator response

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