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Analysis of COPD Hospitalization Trends Finds Gender Gap for Mortality

AJMC Staff
With more women dying annually from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than men since 2000, researchers have examined trends in COPD hospitalization and in-hospital mortality, evaluating for differences by sex and race. They presented their research at the American Thoracic Society 2017 International Conference.
With more women dying annually from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than men since 2000, researchers have examined trends in COPD hospitalization and in-hospital mortality, evaluating for differences by sex and race. They presented their research at the American Thoracic Society 2017 International Conference.

The researchers analyzed data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Nationwide Inpatient Sample and found more than 8.5 million hospitalizations for COPD-related health problems between 2005 and 2014. During that time, the total number of hospitalizations has remained relatively stable, but the number of people who died in the hospital declined by 62%. Since 2008, COPD has been the third-leading cause of death in the United States.

The analysis also found that during this time period, the average age of patients who were hospitalized was 67 years of age, and the average length of a hospital stay decreased from 5.2 days to 4.2 days.

“This is certainly an encouraging trend,” Khushboo Goel, MD, lead study author and a second-year internal medicine resident at the University of Arizona, said in a statement. “We expected to see a decline because of improvements in caring for conditions such as pneumonia, sepsis, septic shock and thromboembolic diseases associated with COPD exacerbations, but the magnitude of the decline in mortality was surprising.”

In-hospital mortality decreased over the study period to 1.4% for white patients, to 0.66% for black patients, and to 1.2% for Hispanic patients. However, while the decreasing mortality trend was observed for white, black, and Hispanic patients, the researchers found that women accounted for most of the hospitalizations (57% to 58%) and in-hospital deaths (51% to 55%).

“Other studies suggest possible explanations for the higher COPD burden women in the US have, including the growing number of women who smoke, the increased severity of symptoms they may experience and longer life expectancy,” Goel said.

 
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