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Review
, 96 (4), 745-52

The Importance of the Assessment of Pulmonary Function in COPD

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Review

The Importance of the Assessment of Pulmonary Function in COPD

Kristina L Bailey. Med Clin North Am.

Abstract

Spirometry is the gold standard for making the diagnosis of COPD. It should be performed in every case of suspected COPD. Other pulmonary functions, such as lung volumes, can give insight into physiologic consequences of COPD, such as hyperinflation. Pulmonary function testing can also aid in assessing the severity of disease and in managing the disease after diagnosis is made.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
A) A normal flow volume loop. B) A flow volume loop of a COPD patient showing coving of the expiratory limb.
Figure 2
Figure 2
The combined COPD Assessment. (Modified from the 2011 GOLD guidelines (2)) Patients are assigned lettered groups A-D based on spirometry, symptoms and number of exacerbations per year. If there is a discrepancy between which group the patient would fall into, always choose the higher risk group. For example, a patient who is GOLD stage II, with a CAT of 22 and 2 COPD exacerbations a year would fall into Group D rather than group B.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Initial pharmacologic therapy and Non-pharmacologic therapy based on GOLD group A-D. Adapted from the 2011 GOLD guidelines.

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