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The PEARL score predicts 90-day readmission or death after hospitalisation for acute exacerbation of COPD
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  • Published on:
    Response to Dr Aiello and others regarding the PEARL score
    • Carlos Echevarria, Respiratory physician Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
    • Other Contributors:
      • John Steer, Respiratory physician
      • G John Gibson, Respiratory physician
      • Stephen C Bourke, Respiratory physician

    We are grateful to the authors for their comments on the PEARL paper, especially those supporting our decision to assess outcome over 90 days. In regard to CODEX, most, but not all, patients had been hospitalised and, more importantly, death or readmission was not the primary outcome.1 Developed tools tend to be optimal for their primary outcome; a tool specifically designed to predict readmission/ death without readmission is likely to be a better predictor of this outcome than one that was not developed primarily for this purpose. This may, at least in part, explain the observed difference in performance. Prognostic tools should also undergo external validation. However, we acknowledge that the brevity of the abstract makes this unclear. At the editor’s discretion, we suggest the abstract could be amended to state: “no tool has been developed and externally validated…”

    We agree that data about mortality alone is relevant, and highlight that this is included in table E3 in the online supplement. The optimal predictors of death and readmission are not identical, although there is overlap. The reasons for including readmission or death without readmission as a combined outcome are: 1) they are competing risks, and assessing readmission alone would mean that death without readmission would be categorised as a favourable outcome; 2) a patient who would otherwise have died at home may be readmitted if they are identified as high risk and appropriate services are put in...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Pearl score and death or readmission after hospialization for COPD.
    • Pere Almagro, Internal Medicine Multimorbidity Patients Unit. Internal Medicine Department. Hospital Universitario Mutua de Terrassa. Universidad de Barcelona.
    • Other Contributors:
      • Francesco Aiello, Internal Medicine

    We commend Dr. Echevarria et al. for their excellent article, published in Thorax online (February 2017), concerning a new index (PEARL score) to predict the 90-day risk of death or readmission after hospitalization for an acute exacerbation of COPD (AECOPD). I agree with the authors on the relevance of 3 months’ prognosis after a hospitalization for AECOPD. Although policymakers usually consider 30-day readmissions as the marker of quality of care, only 36% of readmissions in COPD patients in this period are for a relapse, incomplete recovery, or a new COPD exacerbation. (1) The rest of readmissions in COPD patients are related with the deleterious complications associated with any hospitalization (post-hospital syndrome), especially in an aged population, with frequent comorbidities and often physical frailty. (2) In this sense, a 90-day time frame can probably better capture not only hospital and ambulatory quality of care, but also risk variables associated with readmissions in COPD patients. However, we believe that the article deserves some reflection.
    First, the authors stated that no tool has previously been developed in COPD to predict short-term readmission or death. This is only partially true. As they themselves note later, the CODEX index was specifically developed and validated to evaluate the risk of mortality, readmission, and their combination in the short- (3 months) or medium-term (1-year) after hospital discharge for AECOPD. (3)
    Second, the...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.