Back to Journals » International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease » Volume 4

Life expectancy and years of life lost in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: Findings from the NHANES III Follow-up Study

Authors Shavelle R, Strauss D, Paculdo, Kush, Mannino D

Published 18 March 2009 Volume 2009:4 Pages 137—148


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Download Article [PDF] 

Robert M Shavelle1, David R Paculdo1, Scott J Kush1, David M Mannino2, David J Strauss1

1Life Expectancy Project, San Francisco, CA, USA; 2Pulmonary Epidemiology Research Laboratory, University of Kentucky School of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Lexington, KY, USA

Rationale: Previous studies have demonstrated that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) causes increased mortality in the general population. But life expectancy and the years of life lost have not been reported.

Objectives: To quantify mortality, examine how it varies with age, sex, and other risk factors, and determine how life expectancy is affected.

Methods: We constructed mortality models using the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, adjusting for age, sex, race, and major medical conditions. We used these to compute life expectancy and the years of life lost. Measurements and main results: Pulmonary function testing classifi ed patients as having Global Initiative on Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) stage 0, 1, 2, 3 or 4 COPD or restriction. COPD is associated with only a modest reduction in life expectancy for never smokers, but with a very large reduction for current and former smokers. At age 65, the reductions in male life expectancy for stage 1, stage 2, and stages 3 or 4 disease in current smokers are 0.3 years, 2.2 years, and 5.8 years. These are in addition to the 3.5 years lost due to smoking. In former smokers the reductions are 1.4 years and 5.6 years for stage 2 and stages 3 or 4 disease, and in never smokers they are 0.7 and 1.3 years.

Conclusions: Persons with COPD have an increased risk of mortality compared to those who do not, with consequent reduction in life expectancy. The effect is most marked in current smokers, and this is further reason for smokers to quit.

Keywords: survival, mortality, longevity, COPD

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]