NEW ORLEANS — The greatest burden on healthcare resources and the highest number of hospital admissions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) occur during the coldest months of the year (January-March) and are associated with the highest mortality rates, according to data presented at the CHEST Annual Meeting held from October 19-23, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Researchers used the 2016 National Inpatient Sample and National Inpatient Database to identify patients with a principal diagnosis of acute COPD exacerbation. Individuals were excluded if they were <18 years of age and/or were admitted to the hospital in December. Admissions were categorized by quarters: Q1 (January-March), Q2 (April-June), Q3 (July-September), and Q4 (October-November).

The primary outcome was 30-day all-cause readmission, with secondary outcomes including in-hospital mortality and cumulative resource utilization measured by hospital length of stay and hospital costs and charges.

A total of 530,229 patients were included in the study (mean age, 68; 58% women). Q1 had the highest proportion of admissions (33.69%). Patients admitted in Q1 also had the highest rates of readmission and the highest rates of mortality. The strain on healthcare resources was compounded in Q1 by longer length of stay compared with the other quarters. Total hospitalization costs were comparable between Q1 and Q3 but were highest in Q4 ($163.30). Hospitalization charges were higher in Q1 compared with Q2 and Q3.

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“An intensification of preventive treatments during the first quarter of the year may impact overall COPD mortality and readmission rates while alleviating some of the strain on healthcare resources,” the authors concluded.

Reference

Chakraborti A, Ramanathan R, Alunilkummannil J. Seasonal variations in outcomes and costs for COPD. Presented at: CHEST Annual Meeting 2019; October 19-23, 2019; New Orleans, LA. Abstract 1164.

This article originally appeared on Pulmonology Advisor