Thoracic Research and Practice
Original Article

Lifestyle Changes and Exacerbation Frequency of COPD in Times of the Pandemic


Department of Chest Diseases, Health Sciences University, Yedikule Chest Diseases and Thoracic Surgery Training and Research Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey

Thorac Res Pract 2022; 23: 210-217
DOI: 10.5152/TurkThoracJ.2022.21165
Read: 1143 Downloads: 325 Published: 01 May 2022

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study is to analyze chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbation rates and the effect of patients’ behavioral changes on the exacerbations during the pandemic.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: This study was conducted in a reference hospital for chest diseases and patients who were hospitalized with an exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease between March 11, 2019, and March 11, 2020, were designated. Patients’ chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations requiring emergency department visits and/or hospitalization were com- pared between the pre-pandemic and pandemic periods. Each patient was surveyed with 25 questions using telemedicine.

RESULTS: Of all the 256 patients, 203 (79%) were male and the mean age was 66 ± 10 years. Compared to the previous year, emer- gency department visits and hospitalizations in our hospital were significantly lower and less frequent (P < .0001, for both). Smoking habits decreased in 9% of patients, and 60% had hardly spent time outdoors. Only 3 patients reported to spend time indoors. The household mask-use rate while contacting the patient was 50%. As a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patient, 33% expressed themselves as “feeling better.” Overall, 92(36%) patients were recorded not to have any exacerbation, and 34 (13%) to have no attacks of worsening were managed at home. Novel exacerbation risk was found to independently correlate with younger age (odds ratio: 0.944, CI: 0.904-0.986, P = .010) and having more frequent episodes of exacerbation in the pre-pandemic period (odds ratio: 1.2, CI: 1.025-1.405, P = .023).

CONCLUSION: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients specifically benefited from confinements, restrictions, and lifestyle changes. Further studies are needed to better identify the most critical factors leading to these positive outcomes. A permanent patient management guideline for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients could be formulated where the weight of lifestyle factors is elevated.

Cite this article as: Akyıl FT, Önür ST, Sökücü S, et al. Lifestyle changes and exacerbation frequency of COPD in times of the pandemic. Turk Thorac J. 2022;23(3):210-217.

EISSN 2979-9139