Colour vision deficiency and sputum colour charts in COPD patients: an exploratory mixed-method study

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Sputum colour may mark bacterial involvement in acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, whether colour vision deficiency (CVD) in COPD patients could impact use of sputum colour charts as part of a guide to antibiotic use in exacerbations is unknown. This study used an exploratory mixed method approach to establish the likelihood that COPD patients will be colour blind and whether this would result in the sputum colour chart being unusable in the context of the patients’ self-management of their condition. CVD is under-reported in primary care and co-morbidities in COPD patients increase risk of acquiring CVD. Participants diagnosed with CVD and risk of acquiring CVD were able to use the sputum colour charts. Colour charts are likely to be usable even in the context of undiagnosed CVD in COPD patients.


Original languageEnglish
Article number13
Number of pages6
JournalPrimary Care Respiratory Journal
Issue number1
Early online date4 Mar 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Mar 2021


  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Sputum colour chart, Colour vision deficiency, Exacerbations, Antibiotic use