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Causes of death shifting in patients diagnosed with COPD
Date:1/20/2011

The overall risk of death also increased by 1.6 percent per year during the study period. In total, the risk of death for cardiovascular disease increased by 61.5 percent between 1987 and 2004, the authors noted. "In oxygen-dependent COPD, mortality has decreased for respiratory disease and increased for non-respiratory causes, such as cardiovascular disease," Dr. Ekstrm said. "This supports the importance of optimized diagnostics and treatment of coexisting diseases and conditions to improve survival in severe COPD."

Dr. Ekstrm said the shift in mortality is partly attributable to an increase in the age of patients starting LTOT, which in turn may be related to decreases in tobacco use in the country. The risk of death from cardiovascular disease has been shown in previous studies to increase with age, he noted.

"Tobacco exposure has decreased overall in Sweden, resulting in a delay in the decline of lung function, which means patients are generally older when they require LTOT," he said. "However, although smoking has decreased overall, the rate of decrease has been greater in men than in women. Previous studies have also shown women may be more likely to be adversely affected by smoking, which may also contribute to an increase in the number of women developing COPD and requiring LTOT.

"In our view, the mechanism that underlies the increases in both overall mortality and mortality due to non-respiratory causes is that the patients have a progressively higher burden of coexisting diseases and conditions, and become more vulnerable with increasing age," Dr. Ekstrm said. "Physicians who treat COPD with LTOT need to be aware of these shifts and to monitor for other conditions that may influence the risk of death in these patients."


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Contact: Brian Kell
bkell@thoracic.org
212-315-6442
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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