The new COPD Trends Brief also underscores a need for oxygen reform to improve access to supplemental oxygen.

Today, the American Lung Association released its new COPD Trends Brief, which details the impact of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) on families nationwide and notably revealed a decrease in the COPD death rate among women.

After remaining relatively flat for close to 20 years, the COPD death rate among women has decreased by 15% since 2017, according to the COPD Trends Brief. 

The brief also reveals the latest prevalence, risk factors, patient characteristics, and burden data related to this chronic lung disease. According to the report, COPD affects 11.7 million adults and accounts for hundreds of thousands of emergency department visits and tens of billions in healthcare costs each year.

Other notable findings of the COPD Trends Report are:

  • The medical cost of COPD is $24 billion each year, or more than $4,300 per patient each year on average.
  • Emergency room visits and hospitalizations for COPD both plummeted in 2020, presumably due to COVID-19 and subsequent avoidance of and limited capacity in healthcare facilities. 

“COPD is the sixth leading cause of death in the US, and the disease impacts millions of families every day. Thanks to improvements in early diagnosis of COPD and improved treatments and care, people can live active lives with this chronic lung disease,” says Deb Brown, chief mission officer for the American Lung Association, in a release. 

Critical Need for Oxygen Reform 

According to a release from the association, the impact of COPD also underscores the need for Congress to advance the recently introduced Supplemental Oxygen Access Reform (or SOAR Act), legislation that aims to ensure that people who need supplemental oxygen, like many of those living with advanced COPD, are able to access the correct type and levels of oxygen needed for them to live a full and active life. 

Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced the SOAR Act (S. 3821) on Feb 28.

“In the US, more than 1.5 million people with COPD need supplemental oxygen; however, too many people face challenges in getting the right type and levels of oxygen,” says Deb Brown, chief mission officer for the American Lung Association, in a release. “The lung association’s new COPD Trends Brief not only highlights the burden of COPD but also shows that the disease’s death rate among women has decreased. This is fantastic news, but also reveals the critical need for access to the right type of supplemental oxygen for those who need it.”

Photo 130795677 © Anatolii Mazhora |