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Quantifying comorbidity in individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a population study


Purpose — Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has been associated with many types of comorbidity. The researchers aimed to quantify the real world impact of COPD on lower respiratory tract infection, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, psychiatric disease, musculoskeletal disease and cancer and their impact on COPD through health services.

Methods — A population study using health administrative data from Ontario, Canada, 2008–2012 was conducted. Absolute and adjusted relative rates of ambulatory care visits, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations for the comorbidities of interest in people with and without COPD were determined and compared.

Results — Among 7,241,591 adults, 909,948 (12.6%) had COPD. Over half of all lung cancer, a third of all lower respiratory tract infection and cardiovascular disease, a quarter of all low trauma fracture and a fifth of all psychiatric, musculoskeletal, non-lung cancer and diabetes ambulatory care visits, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations in Ontario were used by people with COPD. Individuals with COPD used about five times more health services for lung cancer and two times more health services for lower respiratory tract infections and cardiovascular disease than people without COPD.

Conclusion — Individuals with COPD use a disproportionate amount of health services for comorbid disease, placing significant burden on the healthcare system.



Gershon AS, Mecredy GC, Guan J, Victor JC, Goldstein R, To T. Eur Respir J. 2015; 45(1):51-9. Epub 2014 Aug 20.

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