Changes in Cardiac Function in COPD Patients After Administration of Budesonide/Formoterol (Symbicort®) Versus Placebo (AZCO)

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Mass General Brigham

Status and phase

Phase 4


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)


Drug: Placebo
Drug: Budesonide / Formoterol

Study type


Funder types



D589BL00021/ISSSYMB0033 (Other Grant/Funding Number)

Details and patient eligibility


To investigate whether Budesonide/Formoterol (Symbicort ®) therapy can improve heart function at rest by decreasing lung hyperinflation in patients with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).

Full description

Patients with moderate to advanced COPD are known to have static hyperinflation (at rest) as a consequence of expiratory flow limitation. Hyperinflation is easily detected by measuring lung volumes during standard pulmonary function testing. Decreased Inspiratory Capacity (IC) secondary to hyperinflation has been described as a predictor of mortality in COPD, and as a limiting factor for the maximal tidal volume attained during exercise. Hyperinflation has been linked to a low cardiac output in part by limiting left ventricular ejection fraction during exercise. Treatment with inhaled anticholinergic agents or long-acting beta agonists (LABA) and combination of the LABA formoterol and budesonide has been shown to improve IC and decrease lung hyperinflation. Bronchodilators have been shown to improve exercise endurance in COPD when combined with pulmonary rehabilitation, however the exact mechanism: improvement of lung mechanics and /or improvement in cardiac function is not well known. Impedance cardiography (ICG) has emerged as a method to measure cardiac output without the need for invasive devices. Cardiac output measurement by impedance cardiography (CO-ICG) is a valid and reproducible method. It has been shown to have good correlation with thermodilution and the direct Fick method for the measurement of stroke volume and cardiac output. In addition, the oxygen pulse, easily obtained by dividing the measured oxygen uptake by the heart rate (VO2/HR) provides an adequate reflection of cardiac stroke volume when the systemic extraction of oxygen is stable. This method has been used to evaluate the effect of static and dynamic hyperinflation on cardiac function. This pilot study is designed to be a single center (Brigham and Women's Hospital), randomized, placebo-controlled, double blind, crossover study of 14 patients (male and female 40 to 80 years old) with COPD and static hyperinflation. The primary endpoint is the measurement of stroke volume, cardiac output and oxygen pulse at rest before and after the administration of budesonide/formoterol compared to placebo.


5 patients




40 to 80 years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

Outpatients subjects of either sex between ages 40-80 years, with a diagnosis of COPD. COPD will be characterized as the presence of airflow obstruction with an FEV1/FVC < 0.7 (Forced Expiratory Volume at one second / Forced Vital Capacity) and a FEV1 (Forced Expiratory Volume at one second ) 80% of predicted. All patients must have lung hyperinflation as demonstrated by an increase of ≥100 ml after the administration of budesonide/formoterol. All patients must have a cigarette smoking history of more than 10 pack-years, and be able to perform all the specified procedures as required by the protocol.

Exclusion criteria

  1. Patients with other significant diseases (recent < 6 weeks COPD exacerbation) that could place the patient at risk because of participation in the study, or which may influence the results of the study or the patients' ability to participate in the study.
  2. All patients with a recent (<1 year) history of myocardial infarction, or with a recent history of heart failure (NYHA class III and IV, pulmonary edema, or patients with cardiac arrhythmias.
  3. Patients on daytime oxygen therapy.
  4. Patients with known active tuberculosis.
  5. Patients with a history of active cancer except for non-metastatic skin cancer.
  6. Patients who have undergone thoracotomy, sternotomy, major cardiopulmonary intervention (lung resection, open heart surgery, etc), or other procedure in the 6 months prior to evaluation likely to cause instability of pulmonary status.
  7. Patients with upper respiratory infection in the past six weeks.

Trial design

Primary purpose




Interventional model

Crossover Assignment


Quadruple Blind

5 participants in 2 patient groups, including a placebo group

Budesonide / Formoterol
Experimental group
This is a crossover study, where every patient will receive in a blinded fashion either Budesonide/Formoterol (Symbicort ® ) or placebo
Drug: Budesonide / Formoterol
Placebo Comparator group
This is a crossover study, where every patient will receive in a blinded fashion either Budesonide/Formoterol (Symbicort ® ) or placebo
Drug: Placebo

Trial contacts and locations



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