COPD prevalence in Salzburg, Austria: Results from the Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease (BOLD) study

Lea Schirnhofer, Bernd Lamprecht, William M. Vollmer, Michael J. Allison, Michael Studnicka, Robert L. Jensen, A. Sonia Buist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Background: COPD is projected to be the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2020. The Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease initiative was started to measure the prevalence of COPD in a standardized way and to provide estimates of the social and economic burden of disease. Methods: We surveyed a gender-stratified, population-based sample of 2,200 adults ≥ 40 years of age. The findings of prebronchodilator and postbronchodilator spirometry, as well as information on smoking and reported respiratory disease was recorded. Irreversible airflow obstruction was defined as a postbronchodilator FEV 1/FVC ratio of < 0.70. Results: For 1,258 participants with good-quality postbronchodilator spirometry findings, the overall prevalence of COPD at stage I or higher was 26.1%, and was equal in men and women. The prevalence of COPD stage II or higher (FEV1/FVC ratio, < 0.7; FEV1, < 80% predicted) was 10.7%. The prevalence of COPD stage I+, and COPD stage II+, increased with age and cigarette smoking. A doctor diagnosis of COPD was reported by only 5.6% of participants. Conclusion: One quarter of residents of Salzburg County (Austria) who were & 40 years of age had at least mild irreversible airflow obstruction. The high prevalence of COPD highlights the impending health-care crisis that will affect many countries as a result of this greatly underappreciated condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-36
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Airway obstruction
  • Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease
  • COPD prevalence
  • Smoking prevalence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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