Fatigue is significantly related to COPD functional severity and, independent of disease severity, fatigue is a significant predictor for hospitalization risk in patients with the lung disease, according to Australian researchers .

Investigators assessed 100 patients with stable COPD for “fatigue experiences” and “fatigue impacts” using the Identity-Consequences Fatigue Scale (ICFS). They also used the BODE (body mass index, degree of airflow obstruction, dyspnea, and exercise capacity) index to determine COPD severity.

During the 2-month follow-up, 24% of the COPD patients were admitted to hospital at least once, of whom 58% were admitted at least twice. Researchers identified a significant relationship between ICFS fatigue experiences and impact scores and BODE scores in the COPD patients.

“This study confirms that fatigue reports are systematically related to markers of COPD disease severity,” the authors concluded. “Of greater clinical importance, our results show that, independent of disease severity, fatigue is a strong predictor of hospitalization risk, which is itself an important driver of impaired quality of life, negative impact on self and family, escalation of personal and societal costs, and ongoing instability and mortality.”