Trends in hospital admissions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease over 16 years in Canada

CMAJ. 2023 Sep 11;195(35):E1172-E1179. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.221051.

Abstract

Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an ambulatory care-sensitive condition, and the rate of hospital admissions for COPD is an indicator of the quality of outpatient care. We sought to determine long-term trends in hospital admissions for COPD in Canada.

Methods: Using a comprehensive national database of hospital admissions in Canada, we identified those with a main discharge diagnosis of COPD for patients aged 40 years and older between 2002 and 2017. We calculated sex-specific, age-standardized trends in annual rates of hospital admissions for COPD separately for younger (40-64 yr) and older adults (≥ 65 yr). We used spline regression to examine changes in the admissions trends for each sex and age group.

Results: Over 16 years, 1 134 359 hospital admissions were for COPD. Between 2002 and 2017, the total number of admissions increased by 68.8%, from 52 937 to 89 384. The overall crude admission rate increased by 30.0%, from 368 to 479 per 100 000 population, and the sex-and age-standardized admission rate increased by 9.6%, from 437 to 479 per 100 000 population. Age-standardized rates increased by 12.2% among younger females, by 24.4% among younger males and by 29.8% among older females, but decreased by 9.0% among older males. Over the same period, the all-cause sex-and age-standardized admission rate declined by 23.0%.

Interpretation: Hospital admissions for COPD have increased since 2010, even after adjusting for population growth and aging, and despite declining rates of all-cause hospital admissions. The secular increase in COPD admissions indicates that the burden of COPD on Canadian health care systems is increasing.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hospitalization*
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Discharge
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive* / epidemiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive* / therapy