• COPD ;
  • exacerbations ;
  • hospitalizations ;
  • NIV ;
  • pneumonia


Background and Aims

Pneumonia is often diagnosed among patients hospitalized with acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD). The aims of this study were to find the proportion of patients with pneumonia among admissions due to AECOPD and whether pneumonia has impact on the length of stay (LOS), usage of non-invasive ventilation (NIV) or the in-hospital mortality.


Retrospectively, all hospitalizations in 2005 due to AECOPD in the Departments of Internal and Respiratory Medicine in one Swedish and two Norwegian hospitals were analyzed. A total of 1144 admittances (731 patients) were identified from patient administrative systems. Pneumonic AECOPD (pAECOPD) was defined as pneumonic infiltrates on chest X-ray and C-reactive protein (CRP) value of ≥40 mg/L, and non-pneumonic AECOPD (npAECOPD) was defined as no pneumonic infiltrate on X-ray and CRP value of <40 at admittance.


In admissions with pAECOPD (n = 237), LOS was increased (median 9 days vs 5 days, P < 0.001) and usage of NIV was more frequent (18.1% vs 12.5%, P = 0.04), but no significant increase in the in-hospital mortality (3.8% vs 3.6%) was found compared to admissions with npAECOPD. A higher proportion of those with COPD GOLD stage I–II had pAECOPD compared to those with COPD GOLD stage III–IV (28.2% vs 18.7%, P = 0.001).


In-hospital morbidity, but not mortality, was increased among admissions with pAECOPD compared to npAECOPD. This may, in part, be explained by the extensive treatment with antibiotics and NIV in patients with pAECOPD.