What is the BODE index, and how is used to estimate the prognosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?

Updated: Sep 11, 2020
  • Author: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: John J Oppenheimer, MD  more...
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The FEV1 was used to predict outcome in COPD until other factors were identified to play a role in determining the outcome of COPD patients. These discoveries resulted in the creation of the multidimensional BODE index (body mass index, obstruction [FEV1], dyspnea [modified Medical Research Council dyspnea scale], and exercise capacity [6MWD]). [28] This index was developed to assess an individual’s risk of death or hospitalization.

Prognosis is based on a point system, with all 4 factors used to determine the score, as follows:

  • Body mass index: greater than 21 = 0 points; less than 21 = 1 point

  • FEV1 (postbronchodilator percent predicted): greater than 65% = 0 points; 50-64% = 1 point; 36-49% = 2 points; less than 35% = 3 points

  • Modified Medical Research Council (MMRC) dyspnea scale: MMRC 0 = dyspneic on strenuous exercise (0 points); MMRC 1 = dyspneic on walking a slight hill (0 points); MMRC 2 = dyspneic on walking level ground, must stop occasionally due to breathlessness (1 point); MMRC 3 = dyspneic after walking 100 yards or a few minutes (2 points); MMRC 4 = cannot leave house; dyspneic doing activities of daily living (3 points)

  • Six-minute walking distance: greater than 350 meters = 0 points; 250-349 meters = 1 point; 150-249 meters = 2 points; less than 149 meters = 3 points

The approximate 4-year survival based on the point system above is as follows:

  • 0-2 points = 80%

  • 3-4 points = 67%

  • 5-6 points = 57%

  • 7-10 points = 18%

The use of a clinical scoring system reinforces that determinants of prognosis in COPD remain multifactorial. Waschki et al argued that objective assessments of physical activity, including 6-minute walk test results, are best able to predict mortality. [29] However, additional socioeconomic factors also likely play a role in COPD prognosis; for example, a retrospective cohort study highlighted the increased risk of COPD-related mortality in patients who reside in isolated rural areas. [30]

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