Lung hyperinflation is highly prevalent in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and occurs across the continuum of the disease. A growing body of evidence suggests that lung hyperinflation contributes to dyspnea and activity limitation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and is an important independent risk factor for mortality. In this review, we will summarize the recent literature on pathogenesis and clinical implications of lung hyperinflation. We will outline the contribution of lung hyperinflation to exercise limitation and discuss its impact on symptoms and physical activity. Finally, we will examine the physiological rationale and efficacy of selected pharmacological and non-pharmacological 'lung deflating' interventions aimed at improving symptoms and physical functioning.
Keywords: COPD; dyspnea; lung hyperinflation; respiratory mechanics; respiratory muscles.