Prevalence and Newly Diagnosed Rates of Multimorbidity in Older Medicare Beneficiaries with COPD

COPD. 2021 Oct;18(5):541-548. doi: 10.1080/15412555.2021.1968815. Epub 2021 Sep 1.


Few studies have quantified the multimorbidity burden in older adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) using large and generalizable data. Such evidence is essential to inform evidence-based research, clinical care, and resource allocation. This retrospective cohort study used a nationally representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 years or older with COPD and 1:1 matched (on age, sex, and race) non-COPD beneficiaries to: (1) quantify the prevalence of multimorbidity at COPD onset and one-year later; (2) quantify the rates [per 100 person-years (PY)] of newly diagnosed multimorbidity during in the year prior to and in the year following COPD onset; and (3) compare multimorbidity prevalence in beneficiaries with and without COPD. Among 739,118 eligible beneficiaries with and without COPD, the average number of multimorbidity was 10.0 (SD = 4.7) and 1.0 (SD = 3.3), respectively. The most prevalent multimorbidity at COPD onset and at one-year after, respectively, were hypertension (70.8% and 80.2%), hyperlipidemia (52.2% and 64.8%), anemia (42.1% and 52.0%), arthritis (39.8% and 47.7%), and congestive heart failure (CHF) (31.3% and 38.8%). Conditions with the highest newly diagnosed rates before and following COPD onset, respectively, included hypertension (39.8 and 32.3 per 100 PY), hyperlipidemia (22.8 and 27.6), anemia (17.8 and 20.3), CHF (16.2 and 13.2), and arthritis (12.9 and 13.2). COPD was significantly associated with increased odds of all measured conditions relative to non-COPD controls. This study updates existing literature with more current, generalizable findings of the substantial multimorbidity burden in medically complex older adults with COPD-necessary to inform patient-centered, multidimensional care.Supplemental data for this article is available online at .

Keywords: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Medicare; incidence; multimorbidity; prevalence.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Medicare
  • Multimorbidity*
  • Prevalence
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive* / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States / epidemiology