THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
COPD is currently one of the leading causes of hospitalizations in industrialized countries. The future burden of COPD is uncertain as the trends in the prevalence of the main risk factors for COPD, namely cigarette smoking and population aging, are moving in opposite directions in many jurisdictions. Here, we used data from British Columbia (BC), a Canadian Province of 4.7 million people, as an exemplary jurisdiction to illustrate the projected growth of COPD hospitalizations over the next 15 years in developed countries. We combined forecasts of population growth and aging with an Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) model applied to BC’s population-based administrative health databases (2001 to 2010) to project the trends of incidence, prevalence, deaths, and total length of inpatient stay to 2030. Based on this model, we predict that the absolute number of COPD cases will increase by more than 150% from 2010 to 2030 with the greatest growth in the older age group (75 years of age and older), where the absolute number will increase by 220%. The burden of inpatient care, measured as the total annual inpatient days, will show a growth rate of 185%. Assuming no disruptive changes in COPD prevention and disease management paradigms, the burden of COPD, especially the burden of inpatient care, will significantly escalate over the next 15 years, driven predominantly by population aging. There is a pressing need to develop new preventive strategies and treatments to reduce the future burden of COPD.