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COPD is a progressive debilitating lung condition the clinical course of which is punctuated by acute severe increases in symptoms (exacerbations). These can be life threatening and are a considerable cause of morbidity and mortality as well as frequently requiring hospital admission. The aims of treatment are to prevent attacks through vaccination, smoking cessation, appropriate medication, the provision of pulmonary rehabilitation and also patient education. During an attack treatment should be provided in the most suitable place for the individual (home or hospital) and consists of an accurate diagnosis, clinical assessment and the provision of bronchodilators, corticosteroids and antibiotics where appropriate. More severe attacks necessitating hospital assessment and admission may require ventilatory support and even intensive care. Where possible patients should be involved in decision making, particularly with regard to treatment and a possible ceiling of care.


Journal article


Acute medicine

Publication Date





21 - 27


PhD FRCP Consultant Chest Physician Heatherwood and Wexham NHS Trust Chest Clinic King Edward VII Hospital St Leonard's Road .Windsor.