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      Length of stay of COPD hospital admissions between 2006 and 2010: a retrospective longitudinal study

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          Hospitalizations for COPD are associated with poor patient prognosis. Length of stay (LOS) of COPD admissions in a large urban area and patient and hospital factors associated with it are described.


          Retrospective longitudinal study. All COPD patients registered with London general practitioners and admitted as an emergency with COPD (2006–2010), not having been admitted with COPD in the preceding 12 months were included. Association of patient and hospital characteristics with mean LOS of COPD admissions was assessed. Association between hospital and LOS was determined by negative binomial regression.


          The total number of admissions was 38,504, from 22,462 patients. The mean LOS for first admissions fell by 0.8 days (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.7–1.5) from 8.2 to 7.0 days between 2006 and 2010. Seventy-nine percent of first admissions were ≤10 days, with a mean LOS of 3.7 days (2009–2010). The mean LOS of successive COPD admissions of the same patients was the same or less throughout the study period. The interval between successive admissions fell from a mean of 357 days between the first and second admission to a mean of 19 days after eight admissions. Age accounted for 2.3% of the variance in LOS. Socioeconomic deprivation did not predict LOS. Fewer discharges happened at the weekend (1,893/day) than on weekdays (5,218/day). The mean LOS varied between hospitals, from 4.9 days (95% CI: 3.8–5.9) to 9.5 days (95% CI: 8.6–10.3) when adjusting for clustering, age, sex, and socioeconomic deprivation.


          The fall in LOS of the first COPD admission between 2006 and 2010 reflects international trends. The stability of LOS in successive admissions suggests that increasing severity of disease does not affect recovery time from an exacerbation. Variations between hospitals of nearly 5 days in LOS for COPD admissions suggests that significant improvements in patient outcomes and in savings in health care utilization could be made in hospitals with longer LOS.

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          Most cited references 30

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          UK National COPD Audit 2003: Impact of hospital resources and organisation of care on patient outcome following admission for acute COPD exacerbation.

          Acute chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations use many hospital bed days and have a high rate of mortality. Previous audits have shown wide variability in the length of stay and mortality between units not explained by patient factors. This study aimed to explore associations between resources and organisation of care and patient outcomes. 234 UK acute hospitals each prospectively identified 40 consecutive acute COPD admissions, documenting process of care and outcomes from a retrospective case note audit. Units also completed a resources and organisation of care proforma. Data for 7529 patients were received. Inpatient mortality was 7.4% and mortality at 90 days was 15.3%; the readmission rate was 31.4%. Mean length of stay for discharged patients was 8.7 days (median 6 days). Wide variation was observed in all outcomes between hospitals. Both inpatient mortality (odds ratio (OR) 0.67, CI 0.50 to 0.90) and 90 day mortality (OR 0.75, CI 0.60 to 0.94) were associated with a staff ratio of four or more respiratory consultants per 1000 hospital beds. The length of stay was reduced in units with more respiratory consultants, better organisation of care scores, an early discharge scheme, and local COPD management guidelines. Units with more respiratory consultants and better quality organised care have lower mortality and reduced length of hospital stay. This may reflect unit resource richness. Dissemination of good organisational practice and recruitment of more respiratory specialists offers the potential for improved outcomes for hospitalised COPD patients.
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            The burden of COPD in the U.K.: results from the Confronting COPD survey.

             M. Britton (2003)
            Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a condition characterized by progressive airflow limitation and decline in lung function. As seen in other developed countries throughout the world, COPD in the U.K is associated with considerable mortality, and morbidity from the disease places a significant burden on the healthcare system and society. Despite the obvious burden of COPD in this country, there is a lack of recognition of COPD among the general public. Healthcare professionals may also fail to recognize the burden of disease, as shown by underdiagnosis and inadequate managemen. A key step in increasing awareness of the burden of COPD is obtaining comprehensive information about the impact of the disease on patients, the health service and society. The large-scale international survey, Confronting COPD in North America and Europe, aimed to address this need for information, by interviewing patients and physicians in eight countries. An economic analysis of patient responses to the survey in the U.K showed that COPD places a high burden on the healthcare system and society with annual direct costs estimated at pounds 819.42 per patient, and indirect cost at pound 819.66 per patient resulting in total per patient costs of pound 1639.08. The cost impact of the disease was particularly marked in secondary care, as a result of inpatient hospitalizations, amounting to 54% of direct costs. These results suggest that reducing patient requirement for hospital care could alleviate the burden of COPD on the U.K. healthcare system. This will require considerable improvements to the way the disease is managed by healthcare professionals in primary care, with earlier diagnosis and the use of interventions aimed at preventing exacerbations and delaying the progression of disease.
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              Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: the disease and its burden to society.

              Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a multicomponent disease with inflammation at its core, and a major cause of morbidity and mortality. It represents a substantial economic and social burden throughout the world. Currently, COPD is the fifth leading cause of death worldwide, and despite advances in management, mortality is expected to increase in the coming decades, in marked contrast to other chronic diseases, such as heart disease and stroke, where there have been considerable decreases in mortality. On a patient level, the burden of COPD to patients and their families and carers is high, both in terms of health-related quality of life and health status. Health care providers and patients often underestimate the substantial morbidity associated with COPD; the condition is also frequently underdiagnosed and undertreated, which further compromises morbidity. Reducing the burden of COPD requires better evaluation and diagnosis, as well as improved management of chronic symptoms. As exacerbations and hospitalizations represent an important driver of the cost and morbidity of COPD, high priority should be given to interventions aimed at delaying the progression of disease, preventing exacerbations, and reducing the risk of comorbidities to alleviate the clinical and economic burden of disease.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                18 March 2015
                : 10
                : 603-611
                [1 ]King’s College London, King’s Health Partners, Division of Health and Social Care Research, London, UK
                [2 ]University of Bristol, Centre for Academic Primary Care, NIHR School for Primary Care Research, School of Social and Community Medicine, Canynge Hall, Bristol, UK
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Timothy H Harries, King’s College London, King’s Health Partners, Division of Health and Social Care Research, 9th Floor Capital House, Weston Street, London, UK, Tel +44 20 7848 8679, Email timothy.harries@
                © 2015 Harries et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                general practice, hospitalization, los


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