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Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 2016, Article ID 1382434, 9 pages
Research Article

Presentations to Emergency Departments for COPD: A Time Series Analysis

1Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 1C9
2Patient Health Outcomes Research and Clinical Effectiveness Unit, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2M8
3Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2R7
4School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 1C9
5Alberta Health Services, Edmonton, AB, Canada T5J 3E4

Received 29 September 2015; Accepted 1 January 2016

Copyright © 2016 Rhonda J. Rosychuk et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common respiratory condition characterized by progressive dyspnea and acute exacerbations which may result in emergency department (ED) presentations. This study examines monthly rates of presentations to EDs in one Canadian province. Methods. Presentations for COPD made by individuals aged ≥55 years during April 1999 to March 2011 were extracted from provincial databases. Data included age, sex, and health zone of residence (North, Central, South, and urban). Crude rates were calculated. Seasonal autoregressive integrated moving average (SARIMA) time series models were developed. Results. ED presentations for COPD totalled 188,824 and the monthly rate of presentation remained relatively stable (from 197.7 to 232.6 per 100,000). Males and seniors (≥65 years) comprised 52.2% and 73.7% of presentations, respectively. The ARIMA model was appropriate for the overall rate of presentations and for each sex and seniors. Zone specific models showed relatively stable or decreasing rates; the North zone had an increasing trend. Conclusions. ED presentation rates for COPD have been relatively stable in Alberta during the past decade. However, their increases in northern regions deserve further exploration. The SARIMA models quantified the temporal patterns and can help planning future health care service needs.