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Drawing Impairment Associated with COPD Mortality

Test results might predict cognitive decline, mortality in COPD patients

MONDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients unable to copy certain drawings as part of neuropsychological testing have a higher rate of mortality compared to those who can complete the test, according to a report in the December issue of Chest.

Andrea Corsonello, M.D., of the Italian National Research Center on Aging in Cosenza, Italy, and colleagues tracked 134 patients with stable COPD for 32 months to evaluate the impact of cognitive impairment on survival.

The researchers found that 58.6 percent of those who died during the observation period had abnormal scores on complex drawing tests compared with 35.2 percent of survivors. Only drawing scores and six-minute walking distance were associated with mortality.

"In conclusion, the copying of a drawing with landmarks test can be used as a prognostic marker in COPD patients," the authors write. "Future research should verify whether this finding reflects a distinctive impairment of executive dysfunction in patients with severe COPD or, alternatively and mimicking the early stages of Alzheimer disease, a constructional dyspraxia due to right insular involvement."

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