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Rinne ST, Elwy AR, Liu CF, Wiener RS, Thayer L, Gerity A, Bastian LA. Implementation of guideline-based therapy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: Differences between men and women veterans. Chronic respiratory disease. 2017 Nov 1; 14(4):385-391.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is common among both men and women, and guidelines recommend the same therapy for both sexes. While previous studies have identified gender differences in other chronic disease management, few studies have examined how implementation of COPD guidelines differs between men and women. We performed a cross-sectional study of veterans admitted to Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals for COPD during October 1, 2008, to September 30, 2011. We collected information on baseline COPD medications during the 6 months prior to hospitalization and categorized therapies as "appropriate" or "inappropriate" based on current guidelines. We used multivariable logistic regression to examine the differences in COPD medications between men and women, after controlling for baseline patient characteristics. We also examined the differences in hospital outcomes, including length of stay and hospital readmission. We identified 33,558 veterans, including 1149 women and 32,409 men who were admitted to 130 VA hospitals. Women were significantly less likely to have received inhaler therapies prior to admission, with lower rates of short-acting beta agonists, short-acting muscarinic antagonists, long-acting beta agonists, and long-acting muscarinic antagonists compared to men. Women also received fewer appropriate inhaler combinations (odds ratio [OR] = 0.83, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.74-0.93) and more inappropriate combinations (OR = 1.33, 95% CI 1.17-1.51). Women and men were prescribed similar rates of inhaled steroid and oral steroids. Hospital outcomes were also similar between the two groups. These findings highlight a potential gender disparity in appropriate outpatient COPD therapy. Improving the quality of care for patients with COPD should include equitable implementation of guideline-based COPD management.