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Keeping up appearances: the importance of maintaining health status in COPD
  1. Lorcan McGarvey
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lorcan McGarvey, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Queen's University, Belfast BT9 7BL, UK; l.mcgarvey{at}qub.ac.uk

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One of the real strengths of the Evaluation of COPD Longitudinally to Identify Predictive Surrogate Endpoints (ECLIPSE) study was that it confirmed something that seemed so obvious that no one ever felt the need to say it! So, we now know that if the patient with COPD sitting in front of you in the outpatient clinic has frequent exacerbations then, guess what? Over time, chances are they will continue to exacerbate.1 In the same way, it seems pretty obvious that maintaining or improving the health status of a patient with COPD over the course of any given year would be associated with a better outcome in subsequent years. Well, despite the fact that we have been measuring health status in some shape or form in patients with COPD for almost 30 years, it surprised me that we had no real proof that this was indeed the case.2 ,3 The article by Wilke and colleagues in this month's Thorax finally provides real evidence as to the importance of achieving something that we no doubt have taken for granted as likely to be beneficial.4

In this study, the investigators used the St George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) total score recorded in ECLIPSE cohort participants at baseline and …

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