Chen, Y, Hayward, RA, Chew-Graham, C, Hubbard, R, Croft, P, Sims, K and Jordan, KP (2020) Prognostic value of first-recorded breathlessness for future chronic respiratory and heart disease: a cohort study using a UK national primary care database. British Journal of General Practice, 70 (693). e264-e274. ISSN 0960-1643

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Background: Breathlessness is a common presentation in primary care, but GPs may not always record a diagnosis.

Aim: To assess long-term risk of diagnosed COPD, asthma and IHD, and mortality in patients with undiagnosed breathlessness.
Design and Setting: Matched cohort study set within the Clinical Practice Research Datalink.

Method: Adults with first recorded breathlessness between 1997–2010 and no prior diagnostic or prescription record for IHD or a respiratory disease (‘exposed’ cohort) were matched to an ‘unexposed’ cohort. Analyses were adjusted for socio-demographic and co-morbid characteristics.

Results: 75,698 ‘exposed’ patients were followed for a median of 6.1 years, and more than a third subsequently received a diagnosis of COPD, asthma or IHD. In those who remained undiagnosed after six months, there were increased long-term risks of all three diagnoses compared to the ‘unexposed’ cohort. Adjusted hazard ratios for COPD ranged from 8.6 (95%CI 6.8, 11.0) between 6-12 months to 2.8 (2.6, 3.0) after 36 months (asthma 11.7 to 4.3; IHD 3.0 to 1.6). Risk of long-term diagnosis remained higher in the ‘exposed’ cohort with no relevant prescription in the first 6 months, and approximately half of all future diagnoses were made in such patients. Risk of earlier mortality (all-cause and disease-specific) was higher in the ‘exposed’ cohort.

Conclusion: Undiagnosed breathlessness can be an indicator of later COPD, asthma and IHD, and is associated with earlier mortality. There is potential for improved identification at first presentation in primary care of those at high risk of future disease, with careful assessment, appropriate intervention and pro-active follow-up and monitoring.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final accepted version of this article and all relevant information relevant to this paper can be found at;
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dyspnoea, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Asthma, Ischemic Heart Disease, Primary Health Care, Electronic Health Records.
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC705 Diseases of the respiratory system
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Primary Care Health Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2019 14:34
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2021 01:30

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