Introduction: International Collaborative Effort on Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease: Exacerbation Risk Index Cohorts (ICE COLD ERIC) is a prospective cohort study with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients from Switzerland and The Netherlands designed to develop and validate practical COPD risk indices that predict the clinical course of COPD patients in primary care. This paper describes the characteristics of the cohorts at baseline. Material and methods: Standardized assessments included lung function, patient history, self-administered questionnaires, exercise capacity, and a venous blood sample for analysis of biomarkers and genetics. Results: A total of 260 Dutch and 151 Swiss patients were included. Median age was 66 years, 57% were male, 38% were current smokers, 55% were former smokers, and 76% had at least one and 40% had two or more comorbidities with cardiovascular disease being the most prevalent one. The use of any pulmonary and cardiovascular drugs was 84% and 66%, respectively. Although lung function results (median forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1] was 59% of predicted) were similar across the two cohorts, Swiss patients reported better COPD-specific health-related quality of life (Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire) and had higher exercise capacity. Discussion: COPD patients in the ICE COLD ERIC study represent a wide range of disease severities and the prevalence of multimorbidity is high. The rich variation in these primary care cohorts offers good opportunities to learn more about the clinical course of COPD.
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