Age-Related Differences in Health-Related Quality of Life in COPD: An Analysis of the COPDGene and SPIROMICS Cohorts


Martinez CH, Diaz AA, Parulekar AD, Rennard SI, Kanner RE, Hansel NN, Couper D, Holm KE, Hoth KF, Curtis JL, Martinez FJ, Hanania NA, Regan EA, Paine R, Cigolle CT, Han MLK. Age-Related Differences in Health-Related Quality of Life in COPD: An Analysis of the COPDGene and SPIROMICS Cohorts. Chest 2016;149(4):927-35.

Date Published:

2016 Apr


OBJECTIVE: Younger persons with COPD report worse health-related quality of life (HRQL) than do older individuals. The factors explaining these differences remain unclear. The objective of this article was to explore factors associated with age-related differences in HRQL in COPD. METHODS: Cross-sectional analysis of participants with COPD, any Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease grade of airflow limitation, and ≥ 50 years old in two cohorts: the Genetic Epidemiology of COPD (COPDGene) study and the Subpopulations and Intermediate Outcome Measures in COPD Study (SPIROMICS). We compared St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) scores by age group: middle-aged (age, 50-64) vs older (age, 65-80) adults. We used multivariate linear modeling to test associations of age with HRQL, adjusting for demographic and clinical characteristics and comorbidities. RESULTS: Among 4,097 participants in the COPDGene study (2,170 middle-aged and 1,927 older adults) SGRQ total scores were higher (worse) among middle-aged (mean difference, -4.2 points; 95% CI, -5.7 to -2.6; P < .001) than older adults. Age had a statistically significant interaction with dyspnea (P < .001). Greater dyspnea severity (modified Medical Research Council ≥ 2, compared with 0-1) had a stronger association with SGRQ score among middle-aged (β, 24.6; 95% CI, 23.2-25.9) than older-adult (β, 21.0; 95% CI, 19.6-22.3) participants. In analyses using SGRQ as outcome in 1,522 participants in SPIROMICS (598 middle-aged and 924 older adults), we found similar associations, confirming that for the same severity of dyspnea there is a stronger association with HRQL among younger individuals. CONCLUSIONS: Age-related differences in HRQL may be explained by a higher impact of dyspnea among younger subjects with COPD. TRIAL REGISTRY:; No.: NCT00608764 and No.: NCT01969344; URL: