Patients' Income and Where They Live Influence Hospitalization for Chronic Lung Disease
AHRQ News and Numbers, February 16, 2011
Low-income Americans with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and those who lived in rural areas or the South or Midwest in 2008 had the highest rates of hospitalization for symptoms of the disease, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
COPD is an incurable and often fatal disease that includes bronchitis, emphysema or both. Nearly 1 out of every 5 patients 40 years and older hospitalized in the United States has a diagnosis of COPD, either as the main reason for the hospital stay or as a contributing illness.
People with COPD periodically experience episodes—called "acute exacerbation"—in which breathing and other symptoms worsen rapidly and can require hospitalization.
According to the analysis by the Federal agency:
- About 514,000 of the 822,500 hospitalizations primarily for COPD in 2008 were for patients with acute exacerbation.
- Compared to 40 to 60 year olds, people 65 to 74 years old and 75 to 84 years old were respectively 6 times and 4.5 times as likely to be hospitalized for acute exacerbation.
- Rural Americans were 1.8 times more likely than residents in large urban areas to be hospitalized for acute exacerbation.
- The hospitalization rate for low-income communities was 1.7 times higher than for other income levels—533 stays per 100,000 people, compared to 312 stays per 100,000 people.
- Compared to the West, people in the South and Midwest were 2 times more likely to be hospitalized for acute exacerbation and people in the Northeast were 1.6 times as likely to be hospitalized.
This AHRQ News and Numbers is based on data in Overview of Hospitalizations among Patients with COPD, 2008 (PDF File, Plugin Software Help). The report uses data from the 2008 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays in all short-term, non-Federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 95 percent of all discharges in the United States and include patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured. The report also includes regional population estimates from Table 1: Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2009 (NST-EST2009-01), Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau, Release date: December 2009.
For other information, or to speak with an AHRQ data expert, please contact Bob Isquith at Bob.Isquith@ahrq.hhs.gov or call (301) 427-1539.