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Title: Domiciliary monitoring to predict exacerbations of COPD
Author: Al Rajeh, Ahmed
ISNI:       0000 0004 7660 5786
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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Introduction: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a common, longterm condition that is usually caused by cigarette smoking. In addition to daily symptoms and limitation in activities, patients are prone to chest infections ('exacerbations'). These are a significant problem: unpleasant for patients, and sometimes severe enough to cause hospital admission and death. Reducing the impact of exacerbations is very important. Previous studies have shown that earlier treatment of exacerbations results in faster recovery, and reduced risk of hospital admission. Helping patients to better detect exacerbations early is therefore important. This PhD focuses on measuring overnight heart rate and oxygen saturation, which we hypothesised would provide the best chance of detecting COPD exacerbations earlier than changes in symptoms. Aim: To evaluate the potential of monitoring physiological variables to provide earlier detection of exacerbations of COPD. Methods: Firstly, a systematic review was conducted to assess the existing literature on predicting exacerbations of COPD by monitoring physiological variables. Next, two clinical tele-health datasets were accessed, from two different NHS services in London, to report the impact of false alarms on tele-health service, and to examine the feasibility of using downloadable data from home non-invasive ventilation to detect exacerbations resulting in hospitalisation. National and international surveys were conducted to explore the techniques that have been used by healthcare providers on how to customise tele-health alarm limits for each individual, and to explore healthcare providers' perceptions of tele-health for COPD. These preliminary projects enabled me to formulate my research question and main PhD hypothesis, tested using a prospective randomised controlled trial. Patients were randomised into two groups (one measured physiology only in the morning versus overnight continuous measurement) and patients were monitored for up to six months or the first exacerbation, whichever was sooner. Patients' acceptance of continuous overnight monitoring was assessed at the end of the study. Results: Existing studies that used physiological variables were small and heterogeneous using different variables and different protocols. The majority of medical alarms received by tele-health teams are false. Most patients reported a positive acceptance of being monitored overnight. Continuous overnight monitoring identified changes at exacerbation earlier than once-daily monitoring, and earlier than symptoms. Changes in physiological variables were correlated with changes in symptoms during non-stable phases. There is widespread UK national and international use of tele-health monitoring physiological variables in COPD without sufficient evidence base. Conclusion: Monitoring physiological parameters may be useful in assisting earlier detection of COPD exacerbations but further, robust studies are required to confirm this. A particular challenge is how to set alarm limits for individual patients given the heterogeneity inherent in COPD and COPD exacerbations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available