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  • Status:: Closed

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a condition which affects the lungs and is often caused by smoking. It is characterised by breathlessness, cough and excess mucus production. COPD is commonly managed in primary care using inhaled medication, including inhaled corticosteroids (ICS).

ICS treatment is recommended by NICE guidelines for worsening symptoms or moderate/severe COPD; however their use can be associated with side-effects such as pneumonia. Previous research suggests that patients with COPD vary in terms of markers (natural chemical indicators) of inflammation in their blood and breath, and this can affect disease outcomes. One of these markers is the blood eosinophil count (a type of white blood cell); another is a breath test called fraction of exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) which measures airway inflammation. Further analysis of previous trials of ICS has found that broadly there is a greater response to ICS-containing medications in patients who have high blood eosinophil levels before treatment.

The aim of this study is to gather preliminary information to look at whether blood and breath tests could be used to predict which patients would most benefit from ICS treatment, and it might be particularly useful to do this if results could be available immediately (near-patient testing).


Study design Prospective observational cohort study
Sponsor University of Oxford
Ethical approval 16/SS/0135
Chief investigator Dr Helen Ashdown
Main point-of-contact Dr Helen Ashdown