Outpatient Management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Physician Adherence to the 2017 Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease Guidelines and its Effect on Patient Outcomes

Brian Chinai, Krystal Hunter, Satyajeet Roy


Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common and preventable illness that carries significant economic and social burden. The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) provides a comprehensive review of the available literature for the diagnosis and management of COPD. Despite being considered the standard of care, adherence to the GOLD guidelines varies among practitioners. In addition, there is yet to be a clear correlation between misalignment with GOLD practicing guidelines and patient outcomes. We studied the outpatient management of COPD, with special attention paid to whether or not adherence to the 2017 GOLD guidelines affected patient outcomes.

Methods: This retrospective electronic medical record review study observed the outpatient management of patients with COPD, aged 18 year or older, who presented to the suburban primary care office. Patients who received treatment according to the GOLD guidelines were compared with the patients who did not. Categorical data were analyzed as frequencies with percentages. Frequencies were compared using Chi-square and Fisher’s exact tests. A P value < 0.05 was used to determine statistical significance.

Results: A total of 158 patients were included in this study. Thirty-six percent of the patients were treated according to the GOLD guidelines. There was no significant difference in the mortality, exacerbations or hospitalizations between the patients who were treated according to the GOLD guidelines and those who were not. Comparing prescribing practices for those treated according to the GOLD guidelines versus those who were not, a significant difference in management occurred in regards to long acting beta agonist (P < 0.05) and inhaled corticosteroid therapy (P < 0.001). The differences in the use of other pharmacological and nonpharmacological agents were not significant.

Conclusions: Adherence to the 2017 GOLD guidelines had no statistically significant difference in patient outcomes. GOLD nonadherent patients received long-acting beta agonist and inhaled corticosteroid therapy at a significantly higher frequency compared to GOLD-adherent patients.

J Clin Med Res. 2019;11(8):556-562
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/jocmr3888


COPD; 2017 GOLD guidelines; Outpatient management

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