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Health Indicator Report of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Hospitalizations & ED Visits

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. Symptoms include breathing difficulty, cough, mucus (sputum) production and wheezing. COPD is caused by long-term exposure to irritating gases or particulate matter, most often from cigarette smoke. People with COPD are at increased risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer and a variety of other conditions. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two most common conditions that contribute to COPD. Chronic bronchitis is inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from the air sacs (alveoli) of the lungs. It's characterized by daily cough and mucus (sputum) production. Emphysema is a condition in which the alveoli at the end of the smallest air passages (bronchioles) of the lungs are destroyed as a result of damaging exposure to cigarette smoke and other irritating gases and particulate matter. Chronic lower respiratory disease, primarily COPD, was the fourth leading cause of death in the United States in 2019. Over eleven million Americans are believed to have been diagnosed with COPD.


Rates are age-adjusted to the U.S. 2000 population.

Data Sources

  • American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, []
  • Office of Health Care Quality and Assessment, New Jersey Department of Health, []


Number or rate of hospitalizations or emergency room visits due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in a geographic area in a time period (primary diagnosis of COPD, defined by ICD-9 490-492, 493.2 (only when 490-492 or 496 is present), 496 or ICD-10 codes J40-44).


Number of hospitalizations or emergency room visits due to COPD occurring among residents of a geographic area in a time period


For rates, estimated population of a geographic area in a time period using mid-year population estimates.

How Are We Doing?

Since 2017, the inpatient hospitalization rate has shown a steady decrease. Inpatient hospitalization rates for COPD do not represent the total burden of the illness. Most cases of COPD are managed without hospitalization. Individuals with COPD prevent hospitalization through avoidance of triggers and medical management. In addition, many people with COPD are treated in emergency departments and are not included in inpatient hospitalization statistics. Hospitalization rates measure a severe outcome of this disease. COPD inpatient hospitalization and emergency department (ED) visit rates vary widely among New Jersey counties. Rates for inpatient hospitalizations are highest in Cape May and Cumberland Counties. Rates for emergency department visits are highest in Atlantic and Cumberland Counties. Disparities in inpatient hospitalization and emergency department visit rates likely reflect differences in: smoking; access to effective medical management; co-existing chronic diseases; and environmental or occupational triggers.
Page Content Updated On 01/06/2022, Published on 01/06/2022
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's NJSHAD web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Thu, 23 May 2024 2:31:18 from Department of Health, New Jersey State Health Assessment Data Web site: ".

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