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Components of the COPD assessment test associated with the exacerbation of severe COPD patients.

INTRODUCTION: The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Assessment Test (CAT) score is widely used for evaluating the health status of patients diagnosed with COPD. The aim of this study was to identify which components of the CAT are associated with exacerbation in severe COPD patients.

METHODS: Using data from the Korean COPD Subgroup Study (KOCOSS), we identified 3,440 COPD patients, among which 1,027 patients are classified as having severe COPD based on spirometry results. The CAT scores on 8 items were evaluated and classified into respiratory and non-respiratory categories. We analyzed the association between CAT item scores and moderate-to-severe exacerbations during study enrollment and the following years.

RESULTS: Patients with a history of moderate-to-severe exacerbations had higher scores on non-respiratory CAT components. Longitudinal CAT scores on all items after enrollment were higher in the moderate-to-severe exacerbation group. Additionally, the frequency of severe exacerbations was associated with specific CAT components related to limited activities, confidence leaving home, sleeplessness, and energy.

CONCLUSIONS: This study revealed that the non-respiratory CAT component scores were statistically significant factors for predicting the moderate-to-severe exacerbation of severe COPD patients. Non-respiratory symptoms and functional limitations should be considered in patients with severe COPD. Interventions, such as pulmonary rehabilitation, may be needed to improve patients' overall well-being and prevent exacerbations.

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