PLoS One. 2023 Sep 14;18(9):e0290156. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0290156. eCollection 2023.
INTRODUCTION: Although a reduction in admissions for pathologies other than SARS-CoV-2 has been reported during the pandemic, there are hardly any specific studies in relation to COPD. The objective of this study was to analyse differences in the profile of those admitted for AEPOC and their prognosis during this period.
METHODS: Prospective study (SocioEPOC validation cohort) conducted in two hospitals. Demographic, clinical and social characteristics were compared among patients admitted for an AECOPD before and after the declaration of the COVID-19 healthcare emergency. Mortality and the need for hospital care in the following 3 months were analysed.
RESULTS: 340 patients (76.6% male, 72 years, FEV1 43.5%) were included, 174 in the post-pandemic phase. During pandemic, especially before population-level vaccination, admissions for AECOPD were in patients with more severe disease and with a higher level of eosinophils. No differences were found in social profile, except they had more informal caregivers. The mortality rate at 90 days was the same (9%), although those admitted during the pandemic came for more hospital visits in the following 3 months (53.8% vs. 42%; p = 0.003), with the pandemic phase being an independent predictor of this possibility (OR = 1.6.; 95% IC = 1.1-2.6).
CONCLUSIONS: In the first few months of the pandemic, the clinical profile of patients hospitalised for an AECOPD differed from that both prior to this period and during the latter months of the pandemic, with minimal changes at the social level. Although the mortality rate were similar, unscheduled hospital visits increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.