The aim of this study is to quantify the burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – incidence, prevalence, and mortality – and identify trends in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. A structured literature search was performed (January 2000 to September 2010) of PubMed and EMBASE, identifying English-language articles reporting COPD prevalence, incidence, or mortality. Of 2838 articles identified, 299 full-text articles were reviewed, and data were extracted from 133 publications. Prevalence data were extracted from 80 articles, incidence data from 15 articles, and mortality data from 58 articles. Prevalence ranged from 0.2%–37%, but varied widely across countries and populations, and by COPD diagnosis and classification methods. Prevalence and incidence were greatest in men and those aged 75 years and older. Mortality ranged from 3–111 deaths per 100,000 population. Mortality increased in the last 30–40 years; more recently, mortality decreased in men in several countries, while increasing or stabilizing in women. Although COPD mortality increased over time, rates declined more recently, likely indicating improvements in COPD management. In many countries, COPD mortality has increased in women but decreased in men. This may be explained by differences in smoking patterns and a greater vulnerability in women to the adverse effects of smoking.
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