Care of the Surgical ICU Patient with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Pulmonary Hypertension

  • Stacey M. Kassutto
  • Joshua B. KayserEmail author


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive chronic disease characterized by airflow limitation that is frequently progressive and associated with respiratory impairment. As the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and Europe, COPD results in a substantial and ever increasing economic and social burden [1]. Acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD) are frequently encountered in the intensive care unit (ICU). Although there is no standardized definition, AECOPD are characterized by a significant change in patient symptoms from baseline accompanied by overall increased airway resistance [2]. These exacerbations carry a significant risk to patients, with 10 % in-hospital mortality and 1-year and 2-year all-cause mortality rates of 43 % and 49 %, respectively, in patients with hypercapnic exacerbations [3]. Other studies note in-hospital mortality rates as high as 30 % with worse outcomes associated with older age, severity of respiratory and non-respiratory organ dysfunction, and hospital length of stay [4]. Given that patients transferred to the ICU with AECOPD are at high risk for complications and adverse outcomes, early diagnosis and management are critical to improve patient outcomes and survival in this population.


COPD exacerbation Bronchodilators Auto-PEEP Right ventricular failure 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical CareHospital of the University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, Department of Medical Ethics and Health PolicyUniversity of Pennsylvania Perelman School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Medical Intensive Care UnitCpl. Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical CenterPhiladelphiaUSA

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