The burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in patients hospitalized with heart failure
OBJECTIVES: Like chronic heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an enormous public health problem in industrialized countries. Our aim was to determine the prevalence and clinical impact of COPD among patients hospitalized for heart failure in a community hospital serving a population of 125,000 people. METHODS: Between 2001 and 2003 a total of 638 patients (73 ± 10 years, 48% men, 74% NYHA class III) were identified with a discharge diagnosis of heart failure. Medical charts were reviewed and vital status was obtained from a Central Population Registry. RESULTS: COPD was diagnosed in 106 (17%) patients whose age was similar to those without COPD (73 ± 9 vs. 73 ± 11 years, P = 0.35). Patients with COPD were more often males (65% vs. 45%, P < 0.001). There were no differences in arterial hypertension, atrial fibrillation, diabetes mellitus and most laboratory markers except hemoglobin (141 ± 20 vs. 132 ± 20 g/l, P < 0.001) and uric acid (453 ± 136 vs. 414 ± 139 mmol/l, P = 0.013). At discharge, patients with COPD were less likely to receive beta-blockers (12% vs. 28%, odds ratio 0.35, 95% CI0.19–0.64). During follow-up, patients with COPD had higher mortality (73% vs. 60%, P = 0.016, hazard ratio 1.48, 95% CI 1.15–1.90). Kaplan–Meier (log-rank test, P = 0.002) and Cox proportional hazard analysis, adjusted for age, sex, hemoglobin, uric acid, and treatment with beta-blockers and furosemide (hazard ratio 1.38, 95% CI1.04–1.83, P = 0.024) demonstrated the prognostic importance of COPD. CONCLUSIONS: COPD is frequent among hospitalized patients with heart failure. Beta-blockers are largely underused, which is probably a major reason for the higher mortality observed in patients with concomitant chronic heart failure and COPD.