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Lung Disease Puts Many Black Patients Back in Hospital: Report

THURSDAY, Sept. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Among U.S. patients aged 40 and older with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), blacks have the highest rate of hospital readmission, a new report reveals.

COPD, a common lung disease that makes it hard to breathe and gets worse over time, includes two main conditions: emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

In 2008, COPD patient hospital readmissions within 30 days were 30 percent higher among blacks than Hispanics or Asians and Pacific Islanders, and about 9 percent higher than among whites, according to an analysis of data from State Inpatient Databases for 15 states, including: Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Washington.

Overall, in 2008, about 7 percent of COPD patients were readmitted within 30 days principally for COPD, and 21 percent were readmitted for any type of health problem ("all-cause readmission"), according to the Sept. 14 News and Numbers summary from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The 190,700 initial hospital admissions to treat COPD cost an average of $7,100 each. The average cost for readmission principally for COPD was $8,400 per stay (18 percent higher than for the initial stay) and $11,100 for all-cause readmission (50 percent higher), the investigators reported.

Readmissions were 22 percent higher among patients in the poorest communities than among patients in high-income areas, and 13 percent higher among men than women, the report indicated.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about COPD.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, news release, Sept. 16, 2011

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