Supported self-management for patients with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): an evidence synthesis and economic analysis

Rachel E Jordan, Saimma Majothi, Nicola R Heneghan, Deirdre B Blissett, Richard D Riley, Alice J Sitch, Malcolm J Price, Elizabeth J Bates, Alice M Turner, Susan Bayliss, David Moore, Sally Singh, Peymane Adab, David A Fitzmaurice, Susan Jowett, Kate Jolly
Health Technology Assessment: HTA 2015, 19 (36): 1-516

BACKGROUND: Self-management (SM) support for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is variable in its coverage, content, method and timing of delivery. There is insufficient evidence for which SM interventions are the most effective and cost-effective.

OBJECTIVES: To undertake (1) a systematic review of the evidence for the effectiveness of SM interventions commencing within 6 weeks of hospital discharge for an exacerbation for COPD (review 1); (2) a systematic review of the qualitative evidence about patient satisfaction, acceptance and barriers to SM interventions (review 2); (3) a systematic review of the cost-effectiveness of SM support interventions within 6 weeks of hospital discharge for an exacerbation of COPD (review 3); (4) a cost-effectiveness analysis and economic model of post-exacerbation SM support compared with usual care (UC) (economic model); and (5) a wider systematic review of the evidence of the effectiveness of SM support, including interventions (such as pulmonary rehabilitation) in which there are significant components of SM, to identify which components are the most important in reducing exacerbations, hospital admissions/readmissions and improving quality of life (review 4).

METHODS: The following electronic databases were searched from inception to May 2012: MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), and Science Citation Index [Institute of Scientific Information (ISI)]. Subject-specific databases were also searched: PEDro physiotherapy evidence database, PsycINFO and the Cochrane Airways Group Register of Trials. Ongoing studies were sourced through the metaRegister of Current Controlled Trials, International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number database, World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform Portal and Specialist abstract and conference proceedings were sourced through ISI's Conference Proceedings Citation Index and British Library's Electronic Table of Contents (Zetoc). Hand-searching through European Respiratory Society, the American Thoracic Society and British Thoracic Society conference proceedings from 2010 to 2012 was also undertaken, and selected websites were also examined. Title, abstracts and full texts of potentially relevant studies were scanned by two independent reviewers. Primary studies were included if ≈90% of the population had COPD, the majority were of at least moderate severity and reported on any intervention that included a SM component or package. Accepted study designs and outcomes differed between the reviews. Risk of bias for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) was assessed using the Cochrane tool. Random-effects meta-analysis was used to combine studies where appropriate. A Markov model, taking a 30-year time horizon, compared a SM intervention immediately following a hospital admission for an acute exacerbation with UC. Incremental costs and quality-adjusted life-years were calculated, with sensitivity analyses.

RESULTS: From 13,355 abstracts, 10 RCTs were included for review 1, one study each for reviews 2 and 3, and 174 RCTs for review 4. Available studies were heterogeneous and many were of poor quality. Meta-analysis identified no evidence of benefit of post-discharge SM support on admissions [hazard ratio (HR) 0.78, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.52 to 1.17], mortality (HR 1.07, 95% CI 0.74 to 1.54) and most other health outcomes. A modest improvement in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) was identified but this was possibly biased due to high loss to follow-up. The economic model was speculative due to uncertainty in impact on readmissions. Compared with UC, post-discharge SM support (delivered within 6 weeks of discharge) was more costly and resulted in better outcomes (£683 cost difference and 0.0831 QALY gain). Studies assessing the effect of individual components were few but only exercise significantly improved HRQoL (3-month St George's Respiratory Questionnaire 4.87, 95% CI 3.96 to 5.79). Multicomponent interventions produced an improved HRQoL compared with UC (mean difference 6.50, 95% CI 3.62 to 9.39, at 3 months). Results were consistent with a potential reduction in admissions. Interventions with more enhanced care from health-care professionals improved HRQoL and reduced admissions at 1-year follow-up. Interventions that included supervised or unsupervised structured exercise resulted in significant and clinically important improvements in HRQoL up to 6 months.

LIMITATIONS: This review was based on a comprehensive search strategy that should have identified most of the relevant studies. The main limitations result from the heterogeneity of studies available and widespread problems with their design and reporting.

CONCLUSIONS: There was little evidence of benefit of providing SM support to patients shortly after discharge from hospital, although effects observed were consistent with possible improvement in HRQoL and reduction in hospital admissions. It was not easy to tease out the most effective components of SM support packages, although interventions containing exercise seemed the most effective. Future work should include qualitative studies to explore barriers and facilitators to SM post exacerbation and novel approaches to affect behaviour change, tailored to the individual and their circumstances. Any new trials should be properly designed and conducted, with special attention to reducing loss to follow-up. Individual participant data meta-analysis may help to identify the most effective components of SM interventions.

STUDY REGISTRATION: This study is registered as PROSPERO CRD42011001588.

FUNDING: The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.

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