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Original Research: COPD |

COPD Prevalence in Salzburg, Austria*: Results From the Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease (BOLD) Study

Lea Schirnhofer, MD; Bernd Lamprecht, MD; William M. Vollmer, PhD; Michael J. Allison, BS; Michael Studnicka, MD, FCCP; Robert L. Jensen, PhD; A. Sonia Buist, MD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Department of Pneumology (Drs. Schirnhofer, Lamprecht, and Studnicka), Paracelsus Private Medical School, Salzburg, Austria; the Center for Health Research (Dr. Vollmer and Mr. Allison), Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Portland, OR; the University of Utah School of Medicine (Dr. Jensen), Salt Lake City, UT; and the Oregon Health & Science University (Dr. Buist), Portland, OR.

Correspondence to: Michael Studnicka, MD, MSc, FCCP, Müllner Hauptstrasse 48, Department of Pneumology, 5020 Salzburg, Austria; e-mail: m.studnicka@salk.at



Chest. 2007;131(1):29-36. doi:10.1378/chest.06-0365
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Background: COPD is projected to be the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2020. The Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease initiative was started to measure the prevalence of COPD in a standardized way and to provide estimates of the social and economic burden of disease.

Methods: We surveyed a gender-stratified, population-based sample of 2,200 adults ≥ 40 years of age. The findings of prebronchodilator and postbronchodilator spirometry, as well as information on smoking and reported respiratory disease was recorded. Irreversible airflow obstruction was defined as a postbronchodilator FEV1/FVC ratio of < 0.70.

Results: For 1,258 participants with good-quality postbronchodilator spirometry findings, the overall prevalence of COPD at stage I or higher was 26.1%, and was equal in men and women. The prevalence of COPD stage II or higher (FEV1/FVC ratio, < 0.7; FEV1, < 80% predicted) was 10.7%. The prevalence of COPD stage I+, and COPD stage II+, increased with age and cigarette smoking. A doctor diagnosis of COPD was reported by only 5.6% of participants.

Conclusion: One quarter of residents of Salzburg County (Austria) who were ≥ 40 years of age had at least mild irreversible airflow obstruction. The high prevalence of COPD highlights the impending health-care crisis that will affect many countries as a result of this greatly underappreciated condition.

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