Objective: To assess the relationship of personality and clinical characteristics with survival in patients with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Design: Prospective double-blind study.
Setting: Outpatient clinic of a teaching Veterans Affairs Hospital in central New York.
Patient participation: Sixteen male patients (mean age, 62.2±2.5 years) with severe COPD
Interventions: Patients were administered Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) test; their clinical features were recorded from hospital records at the time of admission into the study. All were followed up for 4 years after the initial assessment or until their death.
Measurements and main results: The nine survivors and seven nonsurvivors were similar in age, pulmonary function test (PFT) results, oxygenation, number of medications, or concomitant illnesses. However, the nonsurvivors had higher MMPI and clinical illness scores compared with the survivors (p<0.01 and <0.05, respectively).
Conclusions: The 4-year mortality in male veterans with severe COPD is influenced by overall psychological distress and difficulty in coping with their disease, which seem to be important prognostic indicators irrespective of PFT results or oxygenation.