July 13, 2015
1 min read

Aspiration pneumonia leads to higher mortality in patients with COPD

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Aspiration pneumonia is associated with a higher in-hospital mortality rate than community-acquired pneumonia in patients with COPD, according to study results.

“The present study showed [aspiration pneumonia (AsP)] in COPD patients to be associated with higher short-term mortality — even after adjustment for patient backgrounds,” Yasuhiro Yamauchi, a research associate in the Division for Health Service Promotion at The University of Tokyo, and colleagues wrote.

Yamauchi and colleagues analyzed data of 87,330 patients with COPD aged 40 years and older admitted for either aspiration pneumonia (AsP) (n = 16,388) or community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) (n = 70,942) in 1,165 hospitals in Japan between July 2010 and May 2013.

The researchers noted more patients with AsP (22.7%) died in the hospital than did patients with CAP (12%) (P < .001).

The researchers also noted patients with AsP had more severe dyspnea grades (P < .001) and lower levels of consciousness (P < .001) than patients with CAP upon admission to the hospital.

Patients with AsP, on average, had a length of stay in hospital of 21 days compared with 15 days for patients with CAP (P < .001).

More than half (51.8%) of the patients with AsP who required mechanical ventilation died (n = 1,951) compared with 41.8% of patients with CAP (n = 7,339) (P < .001).

The researchers acknowledged limitations with the study.

“The diagnoses of COPD, AsP and CAP were based on physician-based assessments,” the researchers wrote. “The accuracy of the diagnoses was not certified by specialists. However, in normal clinical settings, these diseases are not always diagnosed by specialists, and so we believe the data relating to physician-based diagnosis to be meaningful.” – by Ryan McDonald

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.