Infectious Disease

Significant decrease in COPD admissions during the COVID-19 pandemic

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According to data published in the American Journal of Medicine, COPD recordings fell significantly after public health measures were implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The recent COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a significant disruption in health care with reduced admissions for COPD and other non-COVID diseases. This is due to a variety of factors, including avoiding overcrowded hospitals for fear of contracting SARS-CoV-2, reallocating hospital resources to treat the increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients, and using telemedicine to treat chronic diseases at home. Jennifer Y. So, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Department of Pulmonary and Intensive Care Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, and colleagues wrote. “There is compelling evidence that public health measures such as home orders, social distancing and masking requirements with tight restrictions on large gatherings to contain the spread of COVID-19 also reduce the transmission of seasonal viral pathogens. ”

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The retrospective analysis comprised data from 4,422 COPD admissions (mean age 57 years; 57% women) from a large, multicenter healthcare system. Researchers assessed uptake trends related to community viral prevalence and public health action for the COVID-19 pandemic. They compared the seasonal weekly hospitalization rates for COPD before and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The primary endpoint was weekly admissions and secondary endpoints included weekly hospital mortality counts, major exacerbations requiring ICU admission, and length of hospital stay.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a 53% decrease in COPD admissions compared to COPD admissions before COVID-19 (31.5 vs. 67.4 admissions per week). This decrease correlated with viral load in the community and represented a 36% greater decrease in the frequency of intake for other conditions not affected by viral respiratory infections such as COVID-19 (incidence RR = 0.64; 95% CI 0, 57-0.71; P <. 001).

The researchers observed a greater decrease in COPD admissions in patients with three or fewer comorbidities (incidence RR = 0.6; 95% CI 0.49-0.75) and patients without repeated hospital admissions (incidence RR = 0 , 66; 95% CI, 0.53-0.81).

There were no significant differences in hospital mortality (incidence RR = 0.66; 95% CI 0.2–2.13) or severe exacerbations that required ICU admission (incidence RR = 1.01 ; 95% CI, 0.72-1.35) observed. In addition, the researchers found no significant differences in the mean length of hospital stay for COPD hospital admissions.

As more people get COVID-19 vaccinations and public health measures relax, researchers believe that patients with COPD may be exposed to familiar seasonal triggers and, therefore, increase COPD shots.

“There is a significant decrease in weekly COPD admissions during the COVID-19 pandemic, likely due to a decrease in the prevalence of respiratory virus from public health measures during the pandemic,” the researchers wrote. “There could be an opportunity to wisely use control measures outside of pandemic conditions to reduce the burden of disease caused by community respiratory viral infections.”

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