Differences in severe exacerbations rates and health care utilisation in COPD populationsin the UK and France

Hannah R Whittaker, Eric Van Ganse, Faustine Dalon, Maeva Nolin, Claire Marrant Micallef, Christophe Pison, Dermot Ryan, Gaetan Deslée, Jennifer K Quint, Manon Belhassen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a leading cause of mortality in Europe; however, it is important to understand how clinical practice patterns differ between countries and how this might relate to disease outcomes, to identify ways of improving local disease management. We aimed to describe and compare the management of patients with COPD in the UK and France between 2008 and 2017.

METHODS: We used data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink GOLD and Hospital Episode Statistics in the UK and the Echantillon Généraliste des Bénéficiaire in France to identify patients with COPD each year between 2008 and 2017. We compared patient characteristics, all-cause mortality and COPD exacerbations each year between 2008 and 2017 for patients in the UK and France separately. Health care utilisation and COPD exacerbations in 2017 were compared between France and the UK using t-tests and χ 2 tests.

RESULTS: Patients with COPD were similar in gender and comorbidities in both countries. Incidence of COPD exacerbations remained stable in the UK and France between 2007 and 2017. In 2017, the proportion of all-cause and COPD-related hospitalisations was greater in the UK than in France (43.9% vs 32.8% and 8.3% vs 4.9%, respectively; p<0.001) as was the proportion of patients visiting accident and emergency (A&E) (39.8% vs 16.2%, respectively; p<0.001). In addition, the mean length of stay in hospital for COPD-related causes was shorter in the UK than in France (6.2 days (SD 8.4) vs 10.5 days (SD 9.1), respectively; p<0.001).

DISCUSSION: Overall, UK patients were more likely to go to A&E, be hospitalised for COPD-related causes and stay in hospital for fewer days after being admitted for COPD-related reasons compared with patients in France, illustrating a difference in health-seeking behaviours and access to healthcare.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere001150
Number of pages13
JournalBMJ Open Respiratory Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2022


  • Disease Progression
  • France/epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/epidemiology
  • United Kingdom/epidemiology


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