Background: While the impact of COPD in Western-Europe is known, data from Eastern-Europe is scarce. This study aimed to evaluate clinical characteristics, treatment patterns, and the socio-economic burden of COPD in Eastern-Europe, taking Bulgaria as a reference case.
Methods: A representative sample of Bulgarian patients with COPD was randomly chosen by pulmonologists, based on the following inclusion criteria: COPD diagnosis with at least 1 year of living with COPD, >= 40 years of age, and use of COPD medication. Patient characteristics, treatment, quality-of-life, healthcare resource use, and costs were systematically assessed.
Results: A total of 426 COPD patients were enrolled. Approximately 69% were male, 40% had occupational risk factors, 45% had severe and 11% had very severe COPD. Mean CAT scores were 13.80 (GOLD A), 21.80 (GOLD B), 17.35 (GOLD C), and 26.70 (GOLD D). Annual per-patient costs of healthcare utilization were Euro579. Yearly pharmacotherapy costs were Euro693. Indirect costs (reduced and lost work productivity) outnumbered direct costs three times.
Conclusions: Bulgaria has relatively high percentages of (very) severe COPD patients, resulting in considerable socio-economic burden. High smoking rates, occupational risk factors, air pollution, and a differential health system may be related to this finding. Eastern-European COPD strategies should focus on prevention, risk-factor awareness, and early detection.
- OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY-DISEASE
- WORKING AGE POPULATION
- INTERNATIONAL SURVEY