Background and objective: The burden of lung disease in Hong Kong is not known. This study determined the mortality and hospitalization rates of respiratory diseases in Hong Kong in 2005, their trend in the past decade and their incidence/prevalence.
Methods: Mortality data were obtained from the Department of Health and hospitalization data from the Hospital Authority, Hong Kong. Incidence/prevalence data were obtained from local registries or local studies. Trends of mortality and hospitalization rates of various respiratory diseases from 1997 and 2005 were calculated after age standardization and were tested for significance using negative binomial regression analysis. Age standardized mortality rates in Hong Kong were compared with those of the UK and globally.
Results: Respiratory disease was the most common cause of mortality and hospitalization in Hong Kong in 2005. Globally and in the UK, cardiovascular disease ranked first in mortality. Respiratory infections ranked first in respiratory mortality, followed by respiratory tract cancer and chronic obstructive lung disease. Respiratory infections also ranked first followed by chronic obstructive lung disease in the utilization of respiratory inpatient bed-days. While mortality rates from all respiratory diseases decreased in the past decade, hospitalization rates remained unchanged. Unlike other respiratory diseases, mortality from respiratory infections have increased since 2001. Smoking is the most important risk factor in non-communicable respiratory diseases.
Conclusions: Respiratory disease is responsible for the highest health-care burden locally. Increased efforts in improving management and prevention of these diseases, including tobacco control, improving air quality and vaccination against influenza and pneumococci, are necessary.