Exertional Desaturation as a Predictor of Rapid Lung Function Decline in COPD

Changhwan Kim, Joon Beom Seo, Sang Min Lee, Jae Seung Lee, Jin Won Huh, Jin Hwa Lee, Seung Won Ra, Ji Hyun Lee, Eun Kyung Kim, Tae Hyung Kim, Woo Jin Kim, Sang Min Lee, Sang Yeub Lee, Seong Yong Lim, Tae Rim Shin, Ho Il Yoon, Seung Soo Sheen, Yeon Mok Oh, Yong Bum Park, Sang Do Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: To date, no clinical parameter has been associated with the decline in lung function other than emphysema severity in COPD. Objectives: The main purpose of this study was to explore whether the rate of lung function decline differs between COPD patients with and without exertional desaturation. Methods: A total of 224 subjects were selected from the Korean Obstructive Lung Disease cohort. Exertional desaturation was assessed using the 6-min walk test (6MWT), and defined as a post-exercise oxygen saturation (SpO2) of <90% or a ≥4% decrease. The cohort was divided into desaturator (n = 47) and non-desaturator (n = 177) groups. Results: There was a significant difference between the desaturator and non-desaturator groups in terms of the change in pre-bronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) over a 3-year period of follow-up (p = 0.006). The mean rate of decline in FEV1 was greater in the desaturator group (33.8 ml/year) than in the non-desaturator group (11.6 ml/year). A statistically significant difference was also observed between the two groups in terms of the change in the St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) total score over 3 years (p = 0.001). Conclusions: This study suggests, for the first time, that exertional desaturation may be a predictor of rapid decline in lung function in patients with COPD. The 6MWT may be a useful test to predict a rapid lung function decline in COPD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-116
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Computed tomography
  • Emphysema
  • Exertional desaturation
  • Lung function


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