COPD: definition and phenotypes

Clin Chest Med. 2014 Mar;35(1):1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ccm.2013.10.010. Epub 2013 Dec 12.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is currently defined as a common preventable and treatable disease that is characterized by persistent airflow limitation that is usually progressive and associated with an enhanced chronic inflammatory response in the airways and the lung to noxious particles or gases. Exacerbations and comorbidities contribute to the overall severity in individual patients. The evolution of this definition and the diagnostic criteria currently in use are discussed. COPD is increasingly divided in subgroups or phenotypes based on specific features and association with prognosis or response to therapy, the most notable being the feature of frequent exacerbations.

Keywords: COPD; Chronic inflammation; Definition; Diagnosis; Lung function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Phenotype
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive* / diagnosis