The economic burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in the elderly: Results from a systematic review of the literature

Silvia Bustacchini, Carlos Chiatti, Gianluca Furneri, Fabrizia Lattanzio, Lorenzo G. Mantovani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose of review: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a high prevalence condition with a significant clinical and economic burden. In elderly people, COPD is often associated with other chronic comorbidities (i.e. cardiovascular diseases), determining clinical complications and requiring frequent acute healthcare interventions. The aim of this article is to review the economic studies evaluating costs and healthcare resource utilization in elderly (≥65 years) COPD patients. Recent findings: Sixteen of the initial 359 articles retrieved through our research strategy were found to include relevant cost information on elderly COPD patients or to evaluate the effect of older age on healthcare expenditure. Most studies were carried out in the United States and used administrative database claims to determine resource consumption and direct costs (attributable and not). Very few studies focused exclusively on elderly patients. Summary: Results showed a certain variability of cost estimations, mainly due to the different methodologies and adopted cost approach. However, we found a trend of direct cost growth in the elderly population, which can be explained by a more frequent use of acute healthcare services, especially for managing COPD exacerbations. These results cannot be considered definitive and new studies, targeting elderly people, are required in order to confirm these preliminary findings.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011



  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • direct costs
  • elderly
  • exacerbations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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