Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive pathological condition characterized by a huge epidemiological and socioeconomic impact worldwide. In Italy, the actual annual cost of COPD was assessed for the first time in 2002: the mean cost per patient per year was €1801 and ranged from €1500 to €3912, depending on COPD severity. In 2008, the mean annual cost per patient was €2723.7, ranging from €1830.6 in mild COPD up to €5451.7 in severe COPD. In 2015, it was €3291, which is 20.8% and 82.7% higher compared to the costs estimated in 2008 and 2002, respectively. In all these studies, the major cost component was direct costs, in particular hospitalization costs due to exacerbations, which corresponded to 59.9% of the total cost and 67.2% of direct costs, respectively. When the annual healthcare expenditure per patient is related to the length of survival by means of the PRO-BODE Index (PBI, which is the implementation of the well-known BODE Index with costs due to annual exacerbations and/or hospitalizations), the annual cost of care proved much more strictly and inversely proportional to patients’ survival at three years, with the highest regression coefficient (r = −0.58) of all the multidimensional indices presently available, including the BODE Index (r = −021). In Italy, even though tobacco smoking has progressively declined by up to 21% in the general population, the economic impact of COPD has shown relentless progression over the last two decades, confirming that the present national health system organization is still insufficient for facing the issue of chronic diseases, in particular COPD, effectively. The periodic assessment of costs is an effective instrument for care providers in predicting COPD mortality, and for decision makers for updating and planning their social, economic, and political strategies.
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