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      Factors contributing to hospitalization costs for patients with COPD in China: a retrospective analysis of medical record data

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          Hospitalization brings considerable economic pressure on COPD patients in China. A clear understanding of hospitalization costs for patients with COPD is warranted to improve treatment strategies and to control costs. Currently, investigation on factors contributing to hospitalization costs for patients with COPD in China is limited. This study aimed to measure the hospitalization costs of COPD and to determine the contributing factors.

          Patients and methods

          Medical record data from the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University from January 2016 to December 2016 were used for a retrospective analysis. Patients who were hospitalized with a diagnosis of COPD were included. Patient characteristics, medical treatment, and hospitalization costs were analyzed by descriptive statistics and multivariable regression.


          Among the 1,943 patients included in this study, 87.85% patients were male; the mean (SD) age was 71.15 (9.79) years; 94.49% patients had comorbidities; and 82.30% patients had health insurance. Regarding medical treatment, the mean (SD) length of stay was 9.38 (7.65) days; 11.12% patients underwent surgery; 87.91% used antibiotics; and 4.53% underwent emergency treatment. For hospitalization costs, the mean (SD) of the total costs per COPD patient per admission was 24,372.75 (44,173.87) CNY (3,669.33 [6,650.38] USD), in which Western medicine fee was the biggest contributor (45.53%) followed by diagnosis fee (27.00%) and comprehensive medical fee (12.04%). Regression found that reimbursement (−0.032; 95% CI −0.046 to 0.007), length of stay (0.738; 95% CI 0.832–0.892), comorbidity (0.044; 95% CI 0.029–0.093), surgery (0.145; 95% CI 0.120–0.170), antibiotic use (0.086; 95% CI 0.060–0.107), and emergency treatment (0.121; 95% CI 0.147–0.219) were significantly ( P<0.01) associated with total hospitalization costs.


          To control hospitalization costs for COPD patients in China, the significance of comorbidity, length of stay, antibiotic use, surgery, and emergency treatment suggests the importance of controlling the COPD progression and following clinical guidelines for inpatients. Interventions such as examination of pulmonary function for early detection, quality control of medical treatment, and patient education warrant further investigation.

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          Most cited references 29

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          COPD in China

          Although, to our knowledge, there has been no exhaustive or credible review of the evidence of the disease burden of COPD in China, COPD has become an increasing public health concern to the Chinese medical community. The purpose of this article is to review the evidence and evaluate and clarify the disease burden of COPD in China with the aim of improving effective management. We reviewed previous studies of COPD in China, which included data on prevalence, mortality, disease burden, risk factors, diagnosis, and management by searching related Web sites, including PubMed, ProQuest, and Thomson Reuters' Web of Knowledge, as well as major Chinese databases and government Web sites. Reported COPD prevalence varied between 5% and 13% in different provinces/cities across China. In 2008, COPD ranked fourth as a leading cause of death in urban areas and third in rural areas. In addition, COPD accounted for 1.6% of all hospital admissions in China in that year. The high prevalence of smoking and biomass fuel use acted as major contributors to the high occurrence of COPD in China. Management of COPD in China should focus on adjusting the distribution of medical resources and on addressing public health policies to facilitate earlier diagnosis in rural areas, aim to reduce smoking prevalence, improve patients' self-management, and keep physicians' knowledge up to date and consistent with current guidelines. COPD is one of the most challenging medical issues facing China because of its influence on both personal and public health and its impact on the economy. Optimal management strategies should be adopted and strengthened immediately.
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            Impact of exacerbations on health care cost and resource utilization in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients with chronic bronchitis from a predominantly Medicare population

            Background Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) lead to significant increases in resource utilization and cost to the health care system. COPD patients with chronic bronchitis and a history of exacerbations pose an additional burden to the system. This study examined health care utilization and cost among these patients. Methods For this retrospective analysis, data were extracted from a large national health plan with a predominantly Medicare population. This study involved patients who were aged 40–89 years, had been enrolled continuously for 24 months or more, had at least two separate insurance claims for COPD with chronic bronchitis (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification code 491.xx), and had pharmacy claims for COPD maintenance medications between January 1, 2007, and March 31, 2009. Two years of data were examined for each patient; the index date was defined as the first occurrence of COPD. Baseline characteristics were obtained from the first year of data, with health outcomes tracked in the second year. Severe exacerbation was defined by COPD-related hospitalization or death; moderate exacerbation was defined by oral or parenteral corticosteroid use. Adjusted numbers of exacerbations and COPD-related costs per patient were estimated controlling for demographic and clinical characteristics. Results The final study sample involved 8554 patients; mean age was 70.1 ± 8.6 years and 49.8% of the overall population had exacerbation, 13.9% had a severe exacerbation only, 29.1% had a moderate exacerbation only, and 6.8% had both a severe and moderate exacerbation. COPD-related mean annual costs were $4069 (all figures given in US dollars) for the overall population and $6381 for patients with two or more exacerbations. All-cause health care costs were $18,976 for the overall population and $23,901 for patients with history of two or more exacerbations. Severity of exacerbations, presence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and long-term oxygen use were associated with higher adjusted costs. Conclusions The results indicate that despite treatment with maintenance medications, COPD patients continue to have exacerbations resulting in higher costs. New medications and disease management interventions are warranted to reduce the severity and frequency of exacerbations and the related cost impact of the disease.
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              Pharmacoeconomic evaluation of acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis and COPD.

              Although exacerbations are the main cause of medical visits and hospitalizations of patients with chronic bronchitis and COPD, little information is available on the costs of their management. This study attempted to determine the total direct costs derived from the management of exacerbations of chronic bronchitis and COPD in an ambulatory setting. A total of 2,414 patients with exacerbated chronic bronchitis and COPD were recruited from 268 general practices located throughout Spain. Patients were followed up for 1 month. A total of 507 patients (21%) relapsed; of these, 161 patients (31.7%) required attention in emergency departments and 84 patients (16.5%) were admitted to the hospital. The total direct mean cost of all exacerbations was $159; patients who were hospitalized generated 58% of the total cost. Cost per failure was $477.50, and failures were responsible for an added mean cost of $100.30/exacerbation. Exacerbations of the 1,130 patients with COPD had a mean cost of $141. Sensitivity analysis showed that a 50% reduction in the failure rate (from 21 to 10.5%) would result in a total cost of exacerbation of $107 (33% reduction). Exacerbations of chronic bronchitis and COPD are costly, but the greatest part of costs derives from therapeutic failures, particularly those that end in hospitalization.

                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
                12 October 2018
                : 13
                : 3349-3357
                [1 ]State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences, University of Macau, Macao, carolinaung@ ; haohu@
                [2 ]State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease, National Clinical Research Center for Respiratory Disease, Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Health, First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Carolina Oi Lam Ung; Hao Hu, State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences, Research building N22-2057, University of Macau, Avenida da Universidade, Macao, China, Tel +853 8 822 8538, Email carolinaung@ ; haohu@
                © 2018 Li 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.

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