The etiology of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is chronic lung inflammation. In the United States, this inflammation most commonly is caused by smoking. COPD is diagnosed when an at-risk patient presents with respiratory symptoms and has irreversible airway obstruction indicated by a forced expiratory volume in 1 second/forced vital capacity ratio of less than 0.7. Management goals for COPD include smoking cessation, symptom reduction, exacerbation reduction, hospitalization avoidance, and improvement of quality of life. Stable patients with COPD who remain symptomatic despite using short-acting bronchodilators should start inhaled maintenance drugs to reduce symptoms and exacerbations, avoid hospitalizations, and improve quality of life. A long-acting anticholinergic or a long-acting beta2-agonist (LABA) can be used for initial therapy; these drugs have fewer adverse effects than inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). If patients remain symptomatic despite monotherapy, dual therapy with a long-acting anticholinergic and a LABA, or a LABA and an ICS, may be beneficial. Triple therapy (ie, a long-acting anticholinergic, a LABA, and an ICS) also is used, but it is unclear if triple therapy is superior to dual therapy. Roflumilast, an oral selective inhibitor of phosphodiesterase 4, is used to manage moderate to severe COPD. Continuous oxygen therapy is indicated for patients with COPD who have severe hypoxemia (ie, PaO2 less than 55 mm Hg or an oxygen saturation less than 88% on room air). Nonpharmacologic strategies also are useful to improve patient outcomes. Pulmonary rehabilitation improves dyspnea and quality of life. Pulmonary rehabilitation after an acute exacerbation reduces hospitalizations and mortality, and improves quality of life and exercise capacity. Smoking cessation is the most effective management strategy for reducing morbidity and mortality in patients with COPD. Lung volume reduction surgery, bullectomy, and lung transplantation are surgical interventions that are appropriate for some patients with COPD.
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