srwoman.lungs.250A team of Canadian researchers has developed a new algorithm being used in emergency departments to successfully estimate patient risk for serious adverse events associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to an article published by Medscape Medical News. Findings from the team’s COPD study, led by Ian Stiell, MD, professor of emergency medicine at the University of Ottawa in Ontario, were published online in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Typically a consequence of smoking, COPD is a leading cause of hospital admission among seniors, and research shows that at least one-third of patients hospitalized with COPD end up returning to an emergency department within 30 days of discharge. Researchers believe that the newly developed, Ottawa COPD Risk Scale, will help doctors determine which COPD patients need to be admitted to the hospital as opposed to those who can be safely released. In addition, they expect the innovative tool to aid in preventing serious adverse events including: death within 30 days of visiting an emergency department, intubation or ventilation, and myocardial infarction.

In the study, researchers examined 945 patients and ultimately identified 20 clinical and laboratory predictors of risk before establishing the 10-point scale, which incorporates a mix of data from a patient’s history, examinations and test results. Included in the scale were the following five variables, found to be independently associated with adverse events: prior intubation, initial heart rate ≥ 110/minute, being too ill to do a walk test, hemoglobin < 100 g/L and urea ≥ 12 mmol/L. In addition to the scale’s demonstrated reliability, doctors also have been encouraged by the ease and minimal cost associated with collecting needed data and identifying risk factors.

To learn more and read the full text of the study, click here.