ventilated patientA strong, significant association exists between concurrent influenza activity and incidence of COPD hospitalizations, according to researchers who noted that “improvements in influenza surveillance, prevention, and treatment may decrease hospitalizations of patients diagnosed with COPD.”

Using data from the National Inpatient Sample on hospitalizations with a primary diagnosis of COPD, as well as primary and secondary diagnoses of influenza, researchers identified strong, significant correlations between flu incidence and COPD hospitalizations over time, as well as with COPD requiring mechanical ventilation, acute exacerbations of COPD, and acute exacerbations requiring mechanical ventilation.

The correlation was particularly strong for patients aged 65 years and over; in that population, 4.2% of COPD admissions were attributable to influenza activity, compared to 3.7% of admissions in younger patients. In patients aged over 65 years who needed mechanical ventilation, this association rose to 4.9%.

Investigators also found that incorporating influenza data significantly improved COPD admission prediction over temporal patterns alone, resulting in a 29.9% reduction in mean squares prediction error.