COPD pp 57-63 | Cite as

Pathophysiology of COPD

  • Eun Kyung KimEmail author


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive inflammatory disease of the lung that involves complex interaction of cells and mediators. And it is characterized by progressive airflow limitation that is not fully reversible, which is caused by two pathologic processes resulted from chronic inflammation: (1) narrowing of the small airways and (2) emphysematous destruction of the lung parenchyma. Lung inflammation associated with an imbalance of proteinases and antiproteinases, and oxidative stress induced by noxious particles and gases contributes to the pathologic changes of COPD. The physiologic changes of COPD are associated with mucus hypersecretion, ciliary dysfunction, airflow limitation, pulmonary hyperinflation, gas exchange abnormalities, pulmonary hypertension, and cor pulmonale. However, the pathophysiology of COPD is complicated and largely undiscovered. This is complicated by the fact that there is heterogeneity of the disease, with some patients showing a predominant emphysema pattern, whereas in others small airway disease predominates, although many patients have a mixed pattern.

This chapter provides a general overview of the pathophysiology of COPD.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Internal Medicine, CHA Bundang Medical CenterCHA University School of MedicineSeongnamSouth Korea

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