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Kahnert, Kathrin; Lutter, Johanna I.; Welte, Tobias; Alter, Peter; Behr, Jürgen; Herth, Felix; Kauczor, Hans-Ulrich; Soehler, Sandra; Pfeifer, Michael; Watz, Henrik; Vogelmeier, Claus F.; Bals, Robert; Joerres, Rudolf A. and Trudzinski, Franziska C. (2021): Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the behaviour and health status of patients with COPD: results from the German COPD cohort COSYCONET. In: Erj Open Research, Vol. 7, No. 3, 00242-2021

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Background: Infection control measures for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) might have affected management and clinical state of patients with COPD. We analysed to which extent this common notion is fact-based. Methods: Patients of the COSYCONET cohort were contacted with three recurring surveys (COVID1, 2 and 3 at 0, 3 and 6 months, respectively). The questionnaires comprised behaviour, clinical and functional state, and medical treatment. The responses to the questionnaires were compared amongst themselves and with pre-COVID information from the last visit of COSYCONET. Results: Overall, 594 patients were contacted and 375 patients (58% males, forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) 61 +/- 22% predicted) provided valid data in COVID1 and COVID2. Five patients reported infections with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Most patients - except for patients with higher education - reported compliance with recommended protective measures, whereby compliance to hygiene, contact and access to physicians slightly improved between COVID1 and COVID2. Also, patients obtained more information from physicians than from public media. In the majority of cases, the personal physician could not be substituted by remote consultation. Over time, symptoms slightly increased and self-assessed physical capacity decreased. Results of COVID3 were similar. Women and patients with more exacerbations and dyspnoea avoided medical consultations, whereas Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) D patients were more amenable to tele-consultation. Conclusion: In well-characterised COPD patients, we observed on average slight deteriorations of clinical state during the period of COVID-19 restrictions, with high and partially increasing adherence to protective measures. The data suggest that in particular, women and GOLD D patients should be actively contacted by physicians to identify deteriorations.

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