Combined pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema (CPFE) patients visit hospitals frequently due to acute exacerbations (AEs); however, the predictors of CPFE AE have not been comprehensively described in literature. Thus, we investigated the predicting factors of AE in CPFE patients.
We retrospectively reviewed medical records from the past 12 years at Korea University Guro Hospital. We selected CPFE patients by computed tomography findings. Rapid deterioration (RD) was defined as acute worsening of dyspnea requiring hospitalization and the presence of newly developed radiologic abnormalities. AE was defined as RD with newly acquired bilateral pulmonary infiltrates without evidence of pulmonary infection or other known causes. We evaluated the following variables in CPFE patients: age, sex, smoking history and amount, body mass index, past medical history, pulmonary function test, gender, age, and physiology (GAP) score, and the presence of lung cancer.
Among 227 CPFE patients, 108 had RD and 31 developed AE. The most common cause of RD was infection (n = 60, 55.6%) and 28.7% (n = 31) developed AE. Lung cancer [hazard ratio (HR), 3.274; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.444–7.425; P < .01] and GAP score (HR, 1.434; 95% CI 1.072–1.918; P = .02) were significant predictors of AE. The presence of lung cancer and AE were significant predictors of mortality.
In conclusion, CPFE patients with lung cancer and high GAP scores should be carefully observed for AE.