Quality of Life in Older Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in Hong Kong: A Case-Control Study

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To date, there have been few studies examining quality of life (QOL) in older patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in China. The aim of the study was to assess QOL in Chinese older patients with COPD and explore its demographic and clinical correlates.


Case-control study of 142 outpatients with COPD and 218 matched control subjects without COPD. COPD patients were recruited from a prospective study sample hospitalized in Hong Kong for acute COPD exacerbation (≥ 2 major COPD symptoms or > 1 major + minor COPD symptoms for ≥ 2 consecutive days). Controls were recruited from social centers in Hong Kong. Activity of daily living was assessed with the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living Scale (IADL), life events were evaluated with the Life Event Scale, depressive disorders were diagnosed using the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), and QOL was measured using the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-12 (SF-12) and St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ).


Compared to controls, patients had significantly lower scores in the physical (PCS score), but not in the mental (MCS score) QOL domain. Multivariate analyses showed that more hospitalizations in the past year significantly contributed to higher PCS score (p = .03), while higher GDS total score contributed to lower MCS score (p = .003). Severe and very severe COPD, more physical illnesses, and higher IADL total score each independently contributed to higher SGRQ total score, explaining 40.0% of the variance (p < .001).


Our results suggest that therapeutic and psychosocial interventions alleviating depressive symptoms, severe COPD, comorbidities, and improving IADL in Chinese patients with COPD are likely of considerable benefit for improving QOL in patients with COPD.

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