Serum IgG Levels and Risk of COPD Hospitalization: A Pooled Meta-analysis

Academic Article


  • Background: Hypogammaglobulinemia (serum IgG levels < 7.0 g/L) has been associated with increased risk of COPD exacerbations but has not yet been shown to predict hospitalizations. Research Question: To determine the relationship between hypogammaglobulinemia and the risk of hospitalization in patients with COPD. Study Design and Methods: Serum IgG levels were measured on baseline samples from four COPD cohorts (n = 2,259): Azithromycin for Prevention of AECOPD (MACRO, n = 976); Simvastatin in the Prevention of AECOPD (STATCOPE, n = 653), Long-Term Oxygen Treatment Trial (LOTT, n = 354), and COPD Activity: Serotonin Transporter, Cytokines and Depression (CASCADE, n = 276). IgG levels were determined by immunonephelometry (MACRO; STATCOPE) or mass spectrometry (LOTT; CASCADE). The effect of hypogammaglobulinemia on COPD hospitalization risk was evaluated using cumulative incidence functions for this outcome and deaths (competing risk). Fine-Gray models were performed to obtain adjusted subdistribution hazard ratios (SHR) related to IgG levels for each study and then combined using a meta-analysis. Rates of COPD hospitalizations per person-year were compared according to IgG status. Results: The overall frequency of hypogammaglobulinemia was 28.4%. Higher incidence estimates of COPD hospitalizations were observed among participants with low IgG levels compared with those with normal levels (Gray's test, P < .001); pooled SHR (meta-analysis) was 1.29 (95% CI, 1.06-1.56, P = .01). Among patients with prior COPD admissions (n = 757), the pooled SHR increased to 1.58 (95% CI, 1.20-2.07, P < .01). The risk of COPD admissions, however, was similar between IgG groups in patients with no prior hospitalizations: pooled SHR = 1.15 (95% CI, 0.86-1.52, P =.34). The hypogammaglobulinemia group also showed significantly higher rates of COPD hospitalizations per person-year: 0.48 ± 2.01 vs 0.29 ± 0.83, P < .001. Interpretation: Hypogammaglobulinemia is associated with a higher risk of COPD hospital admissions.
  • Published In

  • Chest  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Leitao Filho FS; Mattman A; Schellenberg R; Criner GJ; Woodruff P; Lazarus SC; Albert RK; Connett J; Han MK; Gay SE
  • Start Page

  • 1420
  • End Page

  • 1430
  • Volume

  • 158
  • Issue

  • 4