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      Multi-morbidities are Not a Driving Factor for an Increase of COPD-Related 30-Day Readmission Risk

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          Background and Objective

          Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death in the United States. COPD is expensive to treat, whereas the quality of care is difficult to evaluate due to the high prevalence of multi-morbidity among COPD patients. In the US, the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) was initiated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to penalize hospitals for excessive 30-day readmission rates for six diseases, including COPD. This study examines the difference in 30-day readmission risk between COPD patients with and without comorbidities.


          In this retrospective cohort study, we used Cox regression to estimate the hazard ratio of 30-day readmission rates for COPD patients who had no comorbidity and those who had one, two or three, or four or more comorbidities. We controlled for individual, hospital and geographic factors. Data came from three sources: Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) State Inpatient Databases (SID), Area Health Resources Files (AHRF) and the American Hospital Association’s (AHA's) annual survey database for the year of 2013.


          COPD patients with comorbidities were less likely to be readmitted within 30 days relative to patients without comorbidities (aHR from 0.84 to 0.87, p < 0.05). In a stratified analysis, female patients with one comorbidity had a lower risk of 30-day readmission compared to female patients without comorbidity (aHR = 0.80, p < 0.05). Patients with public insurance who had comorbidities were less likely to be readmitted within 30 days in comparison with those who had no comorbidity (aHR from 0.79 to 0.84, p < 0.05).


          COPD patients with comorbidities had a lower risk of 30-day readmission compared with patients without comorbidity. Future research could use a different study design to identify the effectiveness of the HRRP.

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          Most cited references 33

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          Gender and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: why it matters.

          The prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in women is increasing, as is hospitalization for COPD. The number of women dying of COPD in the United States now surpasses men. Despite this, research suggests that physicians are still more likely to correctly diagnose men with COPD than women. Increased tobacco use in women likely explains some of the increase in the prevalence of COPD in women, but data suggest that women may actually be at greater risk of smoking-induced lung function impairment, more severe dyspnea, and poorer health status for the same level of tobacco exposure. The degree to which these observations represent biologic, physiologic, or sociologic differences is not known. Nonsmokers with COPD are also more likely to be female. In addition, new evidence is emerging that men and women may be phenotypically different in their response to tobacco smoke, with men being more prone to an emphysematous phenotype and women an airway predominant phenotype. Inasmuch as COPD is a disease of inflammation, it is also possible that sexual dimorphism of the human immune response may also be responsible for gender differences in the disease. More data are still needed on what the implications of these findings are on therapy. In this clinical commentary, we present current knowledge regarding how gender influences the epidemiology, diagnosis, and presentation of COPD in addition to physiologic and psychologic impairments and we attempt to offer insight into why these differences might exist and how this may influence therapeutic management.
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            Managing comorbidities in COPD

            Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Age and smoking are common risk factors for COPD and other illnesses, often leading COPD patients to demonstrate multiple coexisting comorbidities. COPD exacerbations and comorbidities contribute to the overall severity in individual patients. Clinical trials investigating the treatment of COPD routinely exclude patients with multiple comorbidities or advanced age. Clinical practice guidelines for a specific disease do not usually address comorbidities in their recommendations. However, the management and the medical intervention in COPD patients with comorbidities need a holistic approach that is not clearly established worldwide. This holistic approach should include the specific burden of each comorbidity in the COPD severity classification scale. Further, the pharmacological and nonpharmacological management should also include optimal interventions and risk factor modifications simultaneously for all diseases. All health care specialists in COPD management need to work together with professionals specialized in the management of the other major chronic diseases in order to provide a multidisciplinary approach to COPD patients with multiple diseases. In this review, we focus on the major comorbidities that affect COPD patients. We present an overview of the problems faced, the reasons and risk factors for the most commonly encountered comorbidities, and the burden on health care costs. We also provide a rationale for approaching the therapeutic options of the COPD patient afflicted by comorbidity.
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              Predictors of early readmission among patients 40 to 64 years of age hospitalized for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

              Various causes can contribute to the high rates of readmission among patients hospitalized with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). To determine the frequency and predictors of early readmission among patients aged 40-64 years, hospitalized with COPD. In a retrospective cohort study, using a large national commercial insurance database, we obtained the clinical information within 12 months of the index hospitalization and 30 days after discharge. Primary outcome was early readmission, defined as hospitalization within 30 days of discharge. We categorized predictor variables as patient, provider, and system factors, and compared these variables between patients readmitted and those not readmitted. Logistic regression was used for multivariable analysis. Of 8,263 patients who met the inclusion criteria, 741 (8.9%) had early readmission. Multivariable analysis showed patient factors (male, history of heart failure, lung cancer, osteoporosis, and depression), provider factors (no prior prescription of statin within 12 mo of the index hospitalization and no prescription of short-acting bronchodilator, oral steroid and antibiotic on discharge), and system factors (length of stay, 5 d and lack of follow-up visit after discharge) were associated with early readmission among patients hospitalized with COPD. The C-statistic of the model including patient characteristics was 0.677 (95% confidence interval, 0.656-0.697), which was improved to 0.717 (95% confidence interval, 0.702-0.732) after addition of provider- and system-based factors. One of 11 patients hospitalized with COPD is readmitted within 30 days of discharge. Provider and system factors are important modifiable risk factors of early readmission.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                15 January 2020
                : 15
                : 143-154
                [1 ]Department of Health Behavior and Policy, School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University , Richmond, VA, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Hong Xue; Askar Chukmaitov Department of Health Behavior and Policy, School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University , One Capitol Square, 830 East Main Street, Fourth Floor, Richmond, VA23219, USATel +1 804-628-7529; +1 804 628-3398Fax +1 804 628-1223 Email;
                © 2020 Lin et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms (

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 3, References: 47, Pages: 12
                Original Research


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