The impact on health services
Information on hospital use for respiratory diseases is available for all EU28 countries except Greece, and for a few of the non-EU28 countries. However, some countries contribute information only on the most common conditions. Among European countries that report in greater detail, about 7% of all hospital admissions are due to lung disease.
The proportion of all hospital admissions contributed by specific lung diseases is illustrated in figure 4 for the same countries as selected for the equivalent presentation of deaths in figure 3. Almost half of respiratory admissions are attributable to acute infections (including pneumonia), and episodes of infection are often a cause of exacerbations of asthma and COPD. More than one quarter of respiratory admissions are due to lung cancer and COPD, diseases which are strongly related to smoking.
Age-standardised admission rates for lung diseases vary substantially within western and central Europe (figure 5 and 6), showing some similarity of geographical pattern to that for mortality, but also important differences. Thus, while some high-mortality countries (such as Belgium, Hungary, Ireland and Romania) also have relatively high respiratory admission rates, there are countries with high mortality but below-average admission rates (such as the UK), and others with low or average mortality rates but high admission rates (for example, Austria and Lithuania).