Background: Acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AE-COPD) necessitating hospital admission have a major impact on patient outcome and management costs. We examined temporal trends in AE-COPD-related hospital admissions in France between 1998 and 2007.
Methods: Data were obtained from the French national hospital discharge database for patients aged at least 25 years. AE-COPD was identified with both a "narrow" and a "broad" definition, according to the position (primary or associated) of diagnoses, in order to ensure robustness.
Results: In 2007, among adults aged 25 years or more, the crude AE-COPD-related admission rates were 23/10000 in men and 10/10000 in women using the narrow definition. Using the broad definition, these rates were respectively 38 and 16/10000. With the narrow definition, the annual number of AE-COPD-related admissions increased by 38% between 1998 and 2007, while in-hospital lethality decreased from 7.6% to 6.0%. The proportion of male patients decreased from 72% to 68%. Similar trends were found using the broad definition. The age-standardized AE-COPD-related admission rate increased by 4.4% per year in women and by 1.6% per year in men with the narrow definition, and by respectively 3.8% and 1.2% with the broad definition. A strong seasonal pattern of admissions for AE-COPD was found, matching that of general practitioners visits for influenza-like illness.
Conclusion: Hospitalization rates for AE-COPD have increased in France in recent years, especially among women. By contrast, AE-COPD-related in-hospital lethality has decreased.
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