Hospitalization with acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and associated health resource utilization: a population-based Danish cohort study

J Med Econ. 2013 Jul;16(7):897-906. doi: 10.3111/13696998.2013.800525. Epub 2013 May 23.


Objective: Health resource utilization (HRU) and outcomes associated with acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD) are not well described. Therefore, a population-based cohort study was conducted to characterize patients hospitalized with AECOPD with regard to HRU, mortality, recurrence, and predictors of readmission with AECOPD.

Methods: Using Danish healthcare databases, this study identified COPD patients with at least one AECOPD hospitalization between 2005-2009 in Northern Denmark. Hospitalized AECOPD patients' HRU, in-hospital mortality, 30-day, 60-day, 90-day, and 180-day post-discharge mortality and recurrence risk, and predictors of readmission with AECOPD in the year following study inclusion were characterized.

Results: This study observed 6612 AECOPD hospitalizations among 3176 prevalent COPD patients. Among all AECOPD hospitalizations, median length of stay was 6 days (interquartile range [IQR] 3-9 days); 5 days (IQR 3-9) among those without ICU stay and 11 days (IQR 7-20) among the 8.6% admitted to the ICU. Mechanical ventilation was provided to 193 (2.9%) and non-invasive ventilation to 479 (7.2%) admitted patients. In-hospital mortality was 5.6%. Post-discharge mortality was 4.2%, 7.8%, 10.5%, and 17.4% at 30, 60, 90, and 180 days, respectively. Mortality and readmission risk increased with each AECOPD hospitalization experienced in the first year of follow-up. Readmission at least twice in the first year of follow-up was observed among 286 (9.0%) COPD patients and was related to increasing age, male gender, obesity, asthma, osteoporosis, depression, myocardial infarction, diabetes I and II, any malignancy, and hospitalization with AECOPD or COPD in the prior year.

Limitations: The study included only hospitalized AECOPD patients among prevalent COPD patients. Furthermore, information was lacking on clinical variables.

Conclusion: These findings indicate that AECOPD hospitalizations are associated with substantial mortality and risk of recurrence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Health Resources / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospital Mortality*
  • Hospitalization / economics
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units / statistics & numerical data
  • Length of Stay / economics
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / economics*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / mortality
  • Recurrence
  • Registries
  • Respiration, Artificial / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Distribution