Comorbidities and mortality risk in adults younger than 50 years of age with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

The BODE Collaborative Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Rationale and objective: Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), usually diagnosed after the 6th decade, frequently suffer from comorbidities. Whether COPD patients 50 years or younger (Young COPD) have similar comorbidities with the same frequency and mortality impact as aged-matched controls or older COPD patients is unknown. Methods: We compared comorbidity number, prevalence and type in 3 groups of individuals with ≥ 10 pack-years of smoking: A Young (≤ 50 years) COPD group (n = 160), an age-balanced control group without airflow obstruction (n = 125), and Old (> 50 years) COPD group (n = 1860). We also compared survival between the young COPD and control subjects. Using Cox proportional model, we determined the comorbidities associated with mortality risk and generated Comorbidomes for the “Young” and “Old” COPD groups. Results: The severity distribution by GOLD spirometric stages and BODE quartiles were similar between Young and Old COPD groups. After adjusting for age, sex, and pack-years, the prevalence of subjects with at least one comorbidity was 31% for controls, 77% for the Young, and 86% for older COPD patients. Compared to controls, “Young” COPDs’ had a nine-fold increased mortality risk (p < 0.0001). “Comorbidomes” differed between Young and Old COPD groups, with tuberculosis, substance use, and bipolar disorders being distinct comorbidities associated with increased mortality risk in the Young COPD group. Conclusions: Young COPD patients carry a higher comorbidity prevalence and mortality risk compared to non-obstructed control subjects. Young COPD differed from older COPD patients by the behavioral-related comorbidities that increase their risk of premature death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number267
JournalRespiratory Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • COPD in the young
  • Comorbidities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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