Background: Respiratory diseases are the third cause of death, and the second cause of hospitalization among people aged 65 years or more in Chile. Aim: To analyze the distribution of consultations due to respiratory diseases among adults living in Metropolitan Santiago. Material and methods: A daily registry of all consultations of patients older than 15 years old in seven public primary care centers, was carried out between January 2003 and December 2008. Consultations were classified as having non-respiratory or respiratory causes. The latter were broke down in upper or lower respiratory diseases, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. Results: A total of 1,170,941 consultations were registered and 19% were due to respiratory diseases. Of these, 46% were due to upper respiratory diseases, 31% due to lower respiratory diseases, 8% due to COPD, 6% due to pneumonia, 5% due to asthma and 4% due to other respiratory causes. Pneumonia and COPD were more frequent among consultants older than 65 years. Conclusions: Consultations due to respiratory diseases are approximately one fifth of all primary care consultations. Older people often have more chronic and severe diseases.
Adult; Epidemiology; Morbidity; Respiratory tract diseases