ARTICLE

Hospital admission rates among men and women with symptoms of chronic bronchitis and airflow limitation corresponding to the GOLD stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Respir Med. 2008 Jan;102(1):109-20 Ekberg-Aronsson M, Löfdahl K, Nilsson JA, Löfdahl CG, Nilsson PM. Department of Respiratory Medicine and Allergology, University of Lund, S-221 85 Lund, Sweden.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a major cause of increased morbidity and mortality. The aim of this study was to investigate hospital admission rates among individuals with symptoms of chronic bronchitis and among those with airflow limitation corresponding to GOLD stages 1-4.

METHOD: Between 1974 and 1992, 22044 middle-aged individuals participated in a health screening, which included spirometry (without broncho-dilation), as well as recording of respiratory symptoms and smoking habits. Information on hospital admissions until 31 December 2002 was obtained from local and national registers. The hospital admission rates due to all causes, obstructive lung disease and cardiovascular disease were analysed among individuals with symptoms of chronic bronchitis and among those with airflow limitation corresponding to GOLD stages 1-4 using ordinal regression with adjustment for age and with individuals with normal lung function and without symptoms of chronic bronchitis as reference group.

RESULTS: Symptoms of chronic bronchitis and GOLD stages 1-4 showed increased hospital admission rates (hospital admission rates due to obstructive lung disease excluded) among smokers of both genders. Furthermore, symptoms of chronic bronchitis showed increased hospital admission rates due to obstructive lung disease among smoking women. There were also increased hospital admission rates due to obstructive lung disease among smokers of GOLD stages 1-4 and increased hospital admission rates due to cardiovascular disease among female smokers of GOLD stage 2.

CONCLUSION: Among smokers, symptoms of chronic bronchitis as well airflow limitation corresponding to GOLD stages 1-4 conveyed a substantial morbidity with increased hospital admission rates due to all causes. The burden of disease is most likely underestimated among individuals with symptoms of chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

 

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