Back to Journals » International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease » Volume 11 » Issue 1

COPD exacerbations by disease severity in England

Authors Merinopoulou E, Raluy-Callado M, Ramagopalan S, MacLachlan S, Khalid J

Received 10 November 2015

Accepted for publication 1 February 2016

Published 1 April 2016 Volume 2016:11(1) Pages 697—709


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Evie Merinopoulou,1 Mireia Raluy-Callado,1 Sreeram Ramagopalan,1 Sharon MacLachlan,1 Javaria Mona Khalid2

1Real-World Evidence, Evidera, 2Takeda Development Centre Europe Ltd, London, UK

Objectives: Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are associated with accelerated disease progression and are important drivers of health care resource utilization. The study aimed to quantify the rates of COPD exacerbations in England and assess health care resource utilization by severity categories according to the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) 2013.
Methods: Data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink linked to Hospital Episode Statistics were used to identify patients with a COPD diagnosis aged ≥40 years. Those with complete spirometric, modified Medical Research Council Dyspnea Scale information, and exacerbation history 12 months prior to January 1, 2011 (index date) were classified into GOLD severity groups. Study outcomes over follow-up (up to December 31, 2013) were exacerbation rates and resource utilization (general practitioner visits, hospital admissions).
Results: From the 44,201 patients in the study cohort, 83.5% were classified into severity levels GOLD A: 33.8%, GOLD B: 21.0%, GOLD C: 18.1%, and GOLD D: 27.0%. Mean age at diagnosis was 66 years and 52.0% were male. Annual exacerbation rates per person-year increased with severity, from 0.83 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.81–0.85) for GOLD A to 2.51 (95% CI: 2.47–2.55) for GOLD D. General practitioner visit rates per person-year also increased with severity, from 4.82 (95% CI: 4.74–4.93) for GOLD A to 7.44 (95% CI: 7.31–7.61) for GOLD D. COPD-related hospitalization rates per person-year increased from less symptoms (GOLD A: 0.28, GOLD C: 0.39) to more symptoms (GOLD B: 0.52, GOLD D: 0.84).
Conclusion: Patients in the most severe category (GOLD D) experienced nearly three times the number of exacerbations and COPD-related hospitalizations as those in the least severe category (GOLD A), in addition to increased general practitioner visits. Better patient management to stabilize the disease progression could allow for an improvement in exacerbation frequency and a reduction in health care resource utilization.

Keywords: COPD, exacerbation, resource use, admissions, England, GOLD 2013

Creative Commons License 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. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]