Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Exacerbation Rates in COPD Patients in Southern India – A Potential Role for Community Mitigations Measures

Vishak K. Acharya, Deepthi K. Sharma, Sindhu K. Kamath, A. Shreenivasa, Bhaskaran Unnikrishnan, Ramesh Holla, Manish Gautham, Priya Rathi, Jane Mendonca

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: The impact of the coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic and the effect of preventive health strategies on acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD) are largely unknown. The public health model imposed during the pandemic and the lessons learnt have implications on recommending future preventive strategies for COPD care in general and exacerbations in particular. Aim: This study endeavors to assess the role of preventive strategies of COVID-19 on exacerbation rates of COPD during the lockdown period compared to similar periods the previous year and assess the compliance to preventive strategies for COVID-19 among COPD patients. Methods: This is a hospital-based descriptive cross-sectional study at a tertiary care center. AECOPD in patients during a period spanning five months in the pre-lockdown days was compared with exacerbation rates for a similar period during the national lockdown. Results: Sixty-eight patients were recruited (mean age: 67.38) among whom 47 were males and 21 were females. There were only 7 (10.3%) reported admissions during the lockdown period of 5 months compared to 50 (73.5%) during the corresponding period pre-lockdown. Mild exacerbations reported during the lockdown period were also significantly less with only 17 (25%) against 58 (85.3%) during the pre-lockdown period. Adherence to measures such as donning of masks, hand hygiene, and social distancing was observed among COPD patients with good compliance to the health practices promulgated in the pandemic. Discussion: A significant reduction in exacerbation rates among AECOPD patients during the period of lockdown was observed compared to a similar period the year prior. Noticeable were the findings that both community-based milder exacerbations and severe exacerbations necessitating hospitalizations showed a reduction during the period of lockdown. Adaptability, compliance and acceptance to usage of masks, hand hygiene measures, and norms such as physical distancing were observed in the majority of COPD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1909-1917
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of COPD
Publication statusPublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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