Background: Chronic bronchitis (CB) increases risk of COPD exacerbations. We have shown that the St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) CB definition identifies patients with a similar clinical phenotype as classically defined CB. Whether the SGRQ CB definition is a predictor of future COPD exacerbations is unknown. Methods: We analyzed 7,557 smokers with normal spirometry and Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease stage 1-4 COPD in the Genetic Epidemiology of COPD study with longitudinal follow-up data on exacerbations. Subjects were divided into classic CB+ or classic CB–, using the classic definition. In addition, subjects were divided into SGRQ CB+ or SGRQ CB–. Exacerbation frequency and severe exacerbation frequency were determined in each group. Multivariable linear regressions were performed for exacerbation frequency with either classic CB or SGRQ CB and relevant covariates. Results: There were 1,434 classic CB+ subjects and 2,290 SGRQ CB+ subjects. The classic CB+ group had a greater exacerbation frequency compared with the classic CB– group (0.69 ± 1.26 vs 0.36 ± 0.90 exacerbations per patient per year; P < .0001) and a greater severe exacerbation frequency (0.26 ± 0.74 vs 0.13 ± 0.46 severe exacerbations per patient per year; P < .0001). There were similar differences between the SGRQ CB+ and SGRQ CB– groups. In multivariable analysis, both SGRQ CB and classic CB were independent predictors of exacerbation frequency, but SGRQ CB had a higher regression coefficient. In addition, SGRQ CB was an independent predictor of severe exacerbation frequency whereas classic CB was not. Conclusions: The SGRQ CB definition identified more subjects at risk for future exacerbations than the classic CB definition. SGRQ CB was at least a similar if not better predictor of future exacerbations than classic CB.
- chronic bronchitis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine