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Print version ISSN 0120-4157


ALI, Abraham et al. Frequency of emergency department visits and hospitalizations due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations in patients included in two models of care. Biomédica [online]. 2019, vol.39, n.4, pp.748-758.  Epub Dec 30, 2019. ISSN 0120-4157.


Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have a huge impact on lung function, quality of life and mortality of patients. Emergency Department visits and hospitalizations due to exacerbations cause a significant economic burden on the health system.


To describe the differences in the number of emergency visits and hospitalizations due to exacerbations of COPD among patients included in two models of care of the same institution.

Materials and methods:

A historical cohort study in which COPD patients who are users of two models of care were included: COPD integrated care program (CICP) and general consultation of pulmonology (GCP). The first model, unlike the second one, offers additional educational activities, 24/7 telephone service, and priority consultations. The number of emergency visits and hospitalizations due to COPD exacerbations in patients who had completed at least one year of follow-up was evaluated. The multivariable Poisson regression model was used for calculating the incidence rate (IR) and the incidence rate ratio (IRR) with an adjustment for confounding factors.


We included 316 COPD patients (166 from the CICP and 150 from the GCP). During the year of follow-up, the CICP patients had 50% fewer emergency visits and hospitalizations than patients from the GCP (IRR=0.50, 95%CI: 0.29-0.87, p=0.014).


COPD patients in the CICP had fewer emergency visits and hospitalizations due to exacerbations. Prospective clinical studies are required to confirm the results and to evaluate the factors that contribute to the differences.

Keywords : Pulmonary disease, chronic obstructive; symptom flare up; emergencies; hospitalization; program evaluation; cohort studies.

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