Summary Report: NB-IRDT chronic obstructive pulmonary disease research program – Report two: Investigation of the Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System (CCDSS) and the New Brunswick COPD Health Information Platform (NB-CHIP)

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New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a preventable and treatable chronic lung condition that causes airflow limitation and is characterized by persistent symptoms such as shortness of breath and excessive coughing with or without the production of phlegm. A common inflammatory disease, COPD is primarily caused by exposure to gases and particulates, with tobacco smoke being the most common source of exposure. COPD has significant effects on the quality of life, morbidity, and mortality of individuals living with it. For example, regarding quality of life, Canadians living with COPD have reported limitations to their daily activities, their ability to work outside the home, and even socialization. Between 2015 and 2019, COPD was the 4th/5th leading cause of death in Canada and the 2nd leading cause (after childbirth) of hospitalizations. During the same period, the province of New Brunswick (NB) had very similar mortality and morbidity effects to those seen across Canada: COPD was the 3rd/4th leading cause of death in the province and the 3rd leading cause of hospitalizations. A previous report from the New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training (NB-IRDT) utilizing Statistics Canada Public Use Microdata Files of the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) data demonstrated the effect COPD can have on quality of life. New Brunswickers who reported a diagnosis of COPD had increased rates of indicators associated with reduced quality of life when compared against the general population in NB. While the downstream effects of COPD are well documented, obtaining accurate estimations of the population burden can be difficult due to discrepancies that result from differences in the methodologies used to obtain them. This research report examines the prevalence of COPD based on the Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System case identification algorithm and compares it to clinical measurements from the pulmonary function testing data derived from the NB COPD Health Information Platform. By exploring how the data sources relate to and are consistent with one another, we can improve our understanding of the COPD disease burden and clinical practices surrounding how COPD is diagnosed in the province.