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Specialist emergency care and COPD outcomes

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nick LaneORCiD, Dr John Steer, Professor Stephen BourkeORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2018. Introduction In exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (ECOPD) requiring hospitalisation greater access to respiratory specialists improves outcome, but is not consistently delivered. The UK National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death 2015 enquiry showed over 25% of patients receiving acute non-invasive ventilation (NIV) for ECOPD died in hospital. On 16 June 2015 the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital (NSECH) opened, introducing 24/7 specialty consultant on-call, direct admission from the emergency department to specialty wards and 7-day consultant review. A Respiratory Support Unit opened for patients requiring NIV. Before NSECH the NIV service included mandated training and competency assessment, 24/7 single point of access, initiation of ventilation in the emergency department, a door-to-mask time target, early titration of ventilation pressures and structured weaning. Pneumonia or hypercapnic coma complicating ECOPD have never been considered contraindications to NIV. After NSECH staff-patient ratios increased, the NIV pathway was streamlined and structured daily multidisciplinary review introduced. We compared our outcomes with historical and national data. Methods Patients hospitalised with ECOPD between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2016 were identified from coding, with ventilation status and radiological consolidation confirmed from records. Age, gender, admission from nursing home, consolidation, revised Charlson Index, key comorbidities, length of stay, and inpatient and 30-day mortality were captured. Outcomes pre-NSECH and post-NSECH opening were compared and independent predictors of survival identified via logistic regression. Results There were 6291 cases. 24/7 specialist emergency care was a strong independent predictor of lower mortality. Length of stay reduced by 1day, but 90-day readmission rose in both ventilated and non-ventilated patients. Conclusion Provision of 24/7 respiratory specialist emergency care improved ECOPD survival and shortened length of stay for both non-ventilated and ventilated patients. The potential implications in respect to service design and provision nationally are substantial and challenging.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lane ND, Brewin K, Hartley TM, Gray WK, Burgess M, Steer J, Bourke SC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: BMJ Open Respiratory Research

Year: 2018

Volume: 5

Issue: 1

Online publication date: 14/10/2018

Acceptance date: 10/08/2018

Date deposited: 30/10/2018

ISSN (electronic): 2052-4439

Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1136/bmjresp-2018-000334


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