Update on the management of COPD

Chest. 2008 Jun;133(6):1451-1462. doi: 10.1378/chest.07-2061.


COPD is highly prevalent and will continue to be an increasing cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. COPD is now viewed under a new paradigm as preventable and treatable. In addition, it has become accepted that COPD is not solely a pulmonary disease but also one with important measurable systemic consequences. Patients with COPD have to be comprehensively evaluated to determine the extent of disease so that therapy can be adequately individualized. We now know that smoking cessation, oxygen for hypoxemic patients, lung reduction surgery for selected patients with emphysema, and noninvasive ventilation during severe exacerbations have an impact on mortality. The completion of well-planned pharmacologic trials have shown the importance of decreasing resting and dynamic hyperinflation on patient-centered outcomes and the possible impact on mortality and rate of decline of lung function. In addition, therapy with pulmonary rehabilitation and lung transplantation improve patient-centered outcomes such as health-related quality of life, dyspnea, and exercise capacity. Rational use of single or multiple therapeutic modalities in combination have an impact on exacerbations and hospitalizations. This monograph presents an integrated approach to patients with COPD and updates their management incorporating the recent advances in the field. The future for patients with COPD is bright as primary and secondary prevention of smoking becomes more effective and air quality improves. In addition, current research will unravel the pathogenesis, clinical, and phenotypic manifestations of COPD, thus providing exciting therapeutic targets. Ultimately, the advent of newer and more effective therapies will lead to a decline in the contribution of this disease to poor world health.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Bronchodilator Agents / adverse effects
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cholinergic Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Oxygen / therapeutic use*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / etiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / mortality
  • Smoking / adverse effects


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Cholinergic Antagonists
  • Oxygen