Reducing the need for hospitalisation in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an important goal in COPD management. The aim of this study was to evaluate re-hospitalisation, treatment, comorbidities and mortality in patients with COPD who were hospitalised for the first time due to a COPD exacerbation.
This was a retrospective, population-based observational cohort study of Swedish patients using linked data from three mandatory national health registries to assess re-hospitalisation rates, medication use and mortality. Rate of hospitalisation was calculated using the number of events divided by the number of person-years at risk; risk of all-cause and COPD-related mortality were assessed using Cox proportional hazard models.
In total, 51,247 patients were identified over 10 years; 35% of patients were not using inhaled corticosteroid, long-acting muscarinic antagonist or long-acting β 2-agonist treatment prior to hospitalisation, 38% of whom continued without treatment after being discharged. Re-hospitalisation due to a second severe exacerbation occurred in 11.5%, 17.8% and 24% of the patients within 30, 90 and 365 days, respectively. Furthermore, 24% died during the first year following hospitalisation and risk of all-cause and COPD-related mortality increased with every subsequent re-hospitalisation. Comorbidities, including ischaemic heart disease, heart failure and pneumonia, were more common amongst patients who were re-hospitalised than those who were not.
Following hospitalisation for first severe COPD exacerbation, many patients did not collect the treatment recommended by current guidelines. Risk of mortality increased with every subsequent re-hospitalisation. Patients with concurrent comorbidities had an increased risk of being re-hospitalised.
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