Indexed on: 22 Oct '15Published on: 22 Oct '15Published in: PloS one
The six-second spirometry has been proposed as an alternative to diagnose airflow limitation, although its prognostic value in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) remains unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine the prognostic value of the postbronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1)/forced expiratory volume in 6 seconds (FEV6) ratio and FEV6 in COPD patients.The study population consisted of 2,614 consecutive stable patients with COPD. The patients were monitored for an average period of 4.3 years regarding mortality, hospitalizations by COPD exacerbations, diagnosis of lung cancer, and annual lung function decline. The overall rate of death was 10.7 (95%CI: 8.7-12.7) per 1000 person-years. In addition to male gender, age and comorbidity, FEV6 (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.981, 95%CI: 0.968-0.003) and FEV1/FEV6 quartiles (lowest quartile (<74% pred.): HR 3.558, 95%CI: 1.752-7.224; and second quartile (74-84% pred.): HR 2.599, 95%CI: 1.215-5.561; versus best quartile (>0.89% pred.)) were independently associated with mortality, whereas FEV1 was not retained in the model. 809 patients (30.9%) had at least one hospital admission due to COPD exacerbation. In addition to sex, age, smoking and comorbidity, FEV1 and FEV1/FEV6 quartiles were independent risk factors of hospitalization. FEV6 was the only spirometric parameter independently related with lung function annual decline, while the FEV6 and FEV1/FEV6 quartiles were independent risk factors for lung cancer.In a general COPD outpatient population, airflow obstruction assessed by the FEV1/FEV6 is an independent risk factor for both death and hospitalization.