HealthDay News — For patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), fatigue is significantly associated with disease severity and predicts risk for hospitalization, study data show.

Patients reporting the most intense fatigue had a 10-fold increased risk for hospitalization compared with patients with the least fatigue in a sample of 100 consecutive patients attending assessment clinics prior to pulmonary rehabilitation.

“While fatigue is significantly related to COPD functional severity, fatigue data also capture independent information [and] can contribute to predictions of hospitalization risk,” Johanna S. Paddison, PhD, from the Repatriation General Hospital in Adelaide, Australia, and colleagues reported online in the European Respiratory Journal.

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To better understand the relationship between fatigue, COPD severity and hospitalization, the researchers collected patient data from questionnaires and physical exam and performed partial correlations, multiple linear regressions and Cox proportional hazard models.

The researchers identified a significant correlation between fatigue and COPD severity, with fatigue reports predicting subsequent hospitalization risk (fatigue experiences hazard ratio=10.2, 95% CI: 2.66–38.86; fatigue impacts HR=10.7, 95% CI: 2.76–41.65).

After comparing fatigue intensity among stable COPD patients with levels reported by patients with other chronic conditions, the researchers found that the patient’s COPD fatigue scores were similar to those reported by colorectal cancer and HIV-positive patients.

Paddison JS et al. Eur Resp J. 2012; doi: 10.1183/09031936.00021412.