Sex differences in survival of oxygen-dependent patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2006 Sep 1;174(5):524-9. doi: 10.1164/rccm.200507-1057OC. Epub 2006 Jun 15.


Rationale: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a leading cause of death worldwide. The prevalence of COPD is rising among women and is approaching that of men, but it is not known if sex affects survival.

Objectives: To measure the survival differences between men and women with oxygen-dependent COPD.

Methods: We conducted a 7-yr prospective cohort study of 435 outpatients with COPD (184 women, 251 men) referred for long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) at two respiratory clinics in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Baseline data were collected on enrollment into oxygen therapy, when patients were clinically stable.

Measurements: We examined the effect of sex on survival using Kaplan-Meier survival curves, and then used Cox proportional hazards models to control for potential confounders.

Main results: In unadjusted analyses, we observed a nonsignificant trend toward increased mortality for women (hazard ratio, 1.28; 95% confidence interval, 0.98-1.68; p = 0.07). After accounting for potential confounders (age, pack-years smoked, Pa(O(2)), FEV(1), body mass index), females were at a significantly higher risk of death (hazard ratio, 1.54; 95% confidence interval, 1.15-2.07; p = 0.004). Other independent predictors of death were lower Pa(O(2)) (p < 0.001) and lower body mass index (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Among patients with COPD on LTOT, women were more likely to die than men.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / mortality*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / therapy*
  • Sex Factors*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Survival Rate