Characteristics and treatable traits of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with and without paid employment

Peter A. Jacobsen*, Alex J. van't Hul, Remco S. Djamin, Jeanine C. Antons, Marianne de Man, Ulla Moller Weinreich, Martijn A. Spruit, Daisy J. A. Janssen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction Patients with COPD are vulnerable to workforce detachment. Better knowledge of features associated with paid work loss might be of help to design and select appropriate interventions. Method This cross-sectional study aimed to explore the presence of treatable traits in COPD patients without paid work. Patients with COPD below 65 years at first referral to a hospital-based patient clinic were included. Using binary logistic regression analysis, the relationship between paid work and the following characteristics was explored: low daily physical activity, exercise, active smoking, Medical Research Council dyspnea scale (MRC), poor nutritional status, exacerbations, and fatigue (checklist individual strength (CIS)). Variables were adjusted for age, sex, forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV 1), and education level. Results In total, 191 patients (47.3%) were without paid work. The following treatable traits were related to not being in paid work: < 5000 steps/day (OR 2.36, 95% CI (1.52-3.68)), MRC >= 3 (OR 1.78, 95%CI (1.14-2.77)), CIS >= 36 points (OR 1.78, 95% CI (1.10-2.87)), six-minute walk distance (6MWD) < 70% of predicted (OR 2.62, 95% CI (1.69-4.06)), and >= 2 exacerbations per year (OR 1.80, 95% CI (1.12-2.92)). Significant differences were also seen in age (OR 1.06, 95% CI (1.02-1.10) per year), FEV 1% predicted (OR 0.98, 95% CI (0.97-1.00) per % predicted increase), and medium/high education level (OR 0.62, 95% CI (0.41-0.93)). When adjusting for all variables the only treatable trait that remained significant was 6MWD. Conclusion Patients without paid work are more likely to have treatable traits with 6MWD revealing the most significant association.

Original languageEnglish
Article number147
Number of pages8
JournalRespiratory Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2021


  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Occupation
  • Workforce connection
  • WORK

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