Community-acquired pneumonia has a greater burden and duration in patients with COPD, according to research published in the journal Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Researchers surveyed 1179 COPD patients and 507 were eligible for enrollment. A baseline survey was completed within 120 days of the onset of self-reported CAP with follow-up survey 30 days later. Both surveys asked patients about CAP-related symptoms and impact of CAP on work and daily life.

Of the 481 participants included in the data analysis, 91.1% reported being hospitalized for CAP. The mean time between the diagnosis of CAP and completion of the baseline survey was 70.4 days. Average time to completion of the follow-up survey was 32.8 days after completion of the baseline survey.

According to researchers, respiratory symptoms required an average of 3 or more weeks to resolve for COPD patients with CAP. Additional data included:

  • Patients also reported fatigue, weakness, poor appetite, confusion or trouble thinking, body aches, and pain associated with their coughs.
  • Self-reported chronic conditions included asthma (23.5%), hypertension (23.5%), diabetes (15.4%), and heart disease (8.5%).
  • The burden of CAP resulted in missed work and usual activities for almost all individuals with an average of 21 missed days of work for the employed and 36.5 days of missed activities for those who were not employed.
  • Returning to usual job performance or usual level of activities required an even longer period of time.

Researchers report patients’ families and caregivers share the burden of CAP: almost 85% of participants reported they required help with daily chores and self-care and nearly 50% reported their symptoms woke others in their home.

“In individuals with COPD, CAP results in a significant and lengthy burden affecting families and caregivers as well as the patient,” researchers concluded, adding that CAP prevention strategies such as smoking cessation and vaccinations are necessary to reduce the burden for COPD patients.