Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease ( Copd )

981 Words Mar 13th, 2016 4 Pages
1.2 Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
1.2.1 What is COPD?
COPD is a chronic inflammation of the airways leading to fixed airflow obstruction and restricted gas exchange. The term COPD includes two basic respiratory pathologies: chronic bronchitis and emphysema (GOLD, 2006) that are described below. The condition is not reversible and may progressively worsen with time (NICE, 2010).
Chronic bronchitis: is the narrowing of the bronchi and bronchioles due to thickening of the airway walls and enlargement of mucus glands from chronic inflammation (Hogg, 2008). COPD caused by chronic bronchitis is characterized by excessive mucus production and expectoration, with mucus plugging contributing to obstruction of the bronchial tree, leading to symptoms of wheeze and shortness of breath.
Emphysema: is characterized by destruction of the lung parenchyma and alveolar enlargement leading to loss of alveolar attachments, loss of functional gas exchange surface and loss of elastic tissue recoil (CosioPiqueras and Cosio, 2001). Together these changes lead to airflow obstruction and breathlessness.
1.2.2 COPD definition and stages
Clinically, COPD and its severity are defined by the presence and magnitude of airflow obstruction. This is assessed with spirometry. Airflow obstruction is measured, post-bronchodilator, as the ratio of forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) to forced vital capacity (FVC), with a value of < 0.7 indicating presence of airflow flow…
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