Pneumonia Risk Factors in COPD: An Analysis

Pneumonia Vaccine Associated with Lower Rate of Pneumonia  Background: Pneumonia is a seriously chest infection that can affect healthy individuals and those with COPD. If severe, it can lead to a serious illness that requires hospitalization. Study: Dr. Kurashima and colleagues from the Saitama Cardiovascular and Respiratory Center in Japan reviewed the risk factors for pneumonia in 509 patients with COPD. The study results were published on line in the Journal of COPD. Chronic Obstr Pulm Dis (Miami). 2016; 3(3): In press. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.15326/jcopdf.3.3.2015.0167 – See more at: http://journal.copdfoundation.org/jcopdf/id/1114/Risk-Factors-for-Pneumonia-and-the-Effect-of-the-Pneumococcal-Vaccine-in-Patients-With-Chronic-Airflow-Obstruction#sthash.R8878z4p.dpuf Results: Using multivariate analsyis (which means consideration of all possible factors), the authors found that a low body mass index (a measure of weight related to height), a low forced expiratory volume in one second (how much air can be exhaled in one second), history of vaccination with the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV-23), and the presence of emphysema were associated with the overall frequency of pneumonia.  Conclusions: The pneumococcal vaccine-23 was associated with a signficantly lower rate of pneumonia in those with COPD. My Comments: Of the four factors reported in this study, you can possibly affect or change two of these: your body mass index (or body weight) and whether or not you have received the pneumococcal vaccine containing 23 strains of the bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae.  A body mass index (BMI) of less than 22 means someone who is very thin. It is possible albeit challenging for some thin individuals to gain weight. However, a healthy diet of frequent small meals is the best strategy. Finally, make sure that you have received the vaccine called PPV-23. If you are not sure, ask your health care provider. There is a newer vaccine called PCV-13 that contains 13 different strains of the bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae. Please view a Real FAQs post on May 1, 2015, , on this website for more information on the PCV-13.

Donald A. Mahler, M.D. is Emeritus Professor of Medicine at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire. He works as a pulmonary physician at Valley Regional Hospital in Claremont, NH, where he is Director of Respiratory Services.