Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and associated healthcare resource consumption in the Middle East and North Africa: the BREATHE study

Respir Med. 2012 Dec;106 Suppl 2:S75-85. doi: 10.1016/S0954-6111(12)70016-1.


Data on COPD-related healthcare resources use are rarely documented in developing countries. This article presents data on COPD-related healthcare resource consumption in the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan and addresses the association of this variable with illness severity. A large survey of COPD was conducted in eleven countries of the region, namely Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi-Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and United Arab Emirates, using a standardised methodology. A total of 62,086 subjects were screened. This identified 2,187 subjects fulfilling the "epidemiological" definition of COPD. A detailed questionnaire was administered to document data on COPD-related healthcare consumption. Symptom severity was assessed using the COPD Assessment Test (CAT). 1,392 subjects were analysable. Physician consultations were the most frequently used healthcare resource, ranging from 43,118 [95% CI: 755-85,548] consultations in UAE to 4,276,800 [95% CI: 2,320,164-6,230,763] in Pakistan, followed by emergency room visits, ranging from 15,917 [95% CI: 0-34,807] visits in UAE to 683,697 [95% CI: 496,993-869,737] in Turkey and hospitalisations, ranging from 15,563 [95% CI: 7,911-23,215] in UAE to 476,674 [95% CI: 301,258-652,090] in Turkey. The use of each resource increased proportionally with the GOLD 2011 severity groups and was significantly (p < 0.0001) higher in subjects with more symptoms compared to those with lower symptoms and in subjects with exacerbations to those without exacerbations. The occurrence of exacerbations and the CAT score were independently associated with use of each healthcare resource. In conclusion, the BREATHE study revealed that physician consultation is the most frequently COPD-related healthcare resource used in the region. It showed that the deterioration of COPD symptoms and the frequency of exacerbations raised healthcare resource consumption.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Africa, Northern / epidemiology
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Developing Countries
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Resources / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Research / methods
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Middle East / epidemiology
  • Office Visits / statistics & numerical data
  • Pakistan / epidemiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / therapy*
  • Severity of Illness Index