Characteristics of prevalent and new COPD cases in Greece: the GOLDEN study
Background: Greece has one of the highest rates of smoking and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Europe. Aim: The study aimed to record both the disease characteristics among a sample of Greek COPD patients and the nationwide rates of newly diagnosed COPD cases. Methods: In this noninterventional, epidemiological cross-sectional study, a representative nationwide sample of 45 respiratory centers provided data on the following: 1) the demographic and clinical characteristics of COPD patients and 2) newly diagnosed COPD cases monitored over a period of 6 months by each physician. Results: Data from 6,125 COPD patients were collected. Advanced age (median age: 68 years), male predominance (71.3%), largely overweight status with median body mass index (BMI) = 27.5 kg/m(2), high percentage of current and ex-smokers (89.8%), and presence of comorbidities (81.9%) were evident in the sample. According to the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) 2011 criteria, majority of the COPD patients had moderate or severe airflow limitation (61%). Severity of airflow limitation was significantly associated with older age, male sex, obesity, ex-smoking status, and presence of comorbidity (all P-values <0.001). A total of 61.3% of the patients received medication, mostly bronchodilators (64.4%) and fixed-dose combinations of long-acting beta(2)-agonists and inhaled corticosteroids (39.9%), while 35.9% reported taking medication on demand. The majority (81.1%) of patients reported a preference for fewer inhalations of their bronchodilator therapy. Based on the mixed-effect Poisson model, the rate of newly diagnosed COPD cases was estimated to be 18.2% (95% confidence interval: 14.9-22.3) per pulmonologist/3 months. Of those newly diagnosed, the majority of patients had mild or moderate airflow limitation (78.2%). Conclusion: The Greek Obstructive Lung Disease Epidemiology and health ecoNomics study reflected the real-life profile of COPD patients and provided evidence on the profile of new COPD cases in Greece. Various demographic factors were delineated, which can assist in designing more effective diagnostic and management strategies for COPD in Greece.