APH 1999, 57, 343-355:

Disease profile of 5000 patients observed at a respiratory department of a general hospital in Flanders (Belgium).

L. Siemons, B. Standaerd, P. Wahlen, and Ph. Van Wilder

Keywords: asthma, bronchoscopy, COPD, hospitalisation, lung cancer, smoking

Objective: An observational study was carried out with patients attending the pneumology department of the St-Jozef Clinic in order to analyse the relationship between disease incidence, hospitalisation and bronchoscopic examination and the risk factors age, gender and smoking habits.

Methods: More than 5000 patients (ambulatory or hospitalised) were enrolled from 1991 until 1996.

Results: Sex distribution was male n = 3286 (57.2%), female n 2456 (42.8%). The incidence of the major diseases was as follows: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) n = 1693 (29.5%); asthma n = 1003 (17.5%); lung cancer n = 295 (5.1%). Current or ex-smoking resulted in an odds ratio for lung cancer of 32.8 (95% C.I.: 12.2 - 88.5). The lung carcinoma sex ratio was 8.8 male to female. The histological examination of the lung carcinomas determined 52 patients suffered from small cell (17.6%), 65 from squamous cell (22.0%), 66 from adenocarcinoma (22.41%), 111 (37.601o) from non-small other and 1 (0. 3%) from mixed type lung cancer. Lung cancer and COPD, male patients and patients with smoking habits significantly increased the occurrence of hospitalisation and the need for bronchoscopic examinations.

Conclusion: Current or ex- smoking increases dramatically the incidence of lung cancer and the need for additional medical care.

The incidence of adenocarcinoma seems to be higher in this region than in Flanders as a whole. The government could use these findings to stimulate smoking prevention and cessation campaigns.