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Fatigue levels may increase risk of hospital admission in COPD sufferers

Low energy levels or feelings of fatigue could indicate a potential risk of hospital admission among COPD sufferers.

Research published in European Respiratory Journal assessed the survey results of 83 people attending a pulmonary rehabilitation clinic.

The survey scored participants on their experiences of fatigue, breathlessness, levels of airway obstruction and hospital records going back 20 months.

Results showed people reporting the most severe levels of fatigue were the most likely to be hospitalised.

Furthermore, some participants with particularly intense fatigue experiences were 13.6 times more likely to become hospitalised within 20 months than others with each unit increase in patients' reports of fatigue experience increasing the length of a potential hospital stay by a factor of almost four.

"There has been little research into the clinical significance of reports of fatigue. Our study has helped to show that patient's experiences of fatigue could be used as a predictor of hospital admissions," said Dr Johanna Paddison, from the Repatriation General Hospital in Adelaide, Australia and lead author of the study.

"As hospitalisations for COPD can impact upon quality of life and have economic consequences, the results of this study have significant implications for the management of COPD."