Minneapolis—Lung function loss is accelerated by exacerbations in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a presentation at the American Thoracic Society 2016 International Conference in San Francisco. Interestingly, the study team led by Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System researchers found that the effect was particularly prominent in those with mild disease. For the study, researchers analyzed data from 2,861 patients in the COPDGene 5-year follow-up cohort study. Of the patients, all current or former smokers, 37% reported at least one exacerbation/acute respiratory event. The greatest effect was among those in the GOLD 1 category, defined as mild COPD, where each exacerbation and severe exacerbation was associated with an additional –21 mL/year and –75 mL/year decline, respectively.

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