COPD Exacerbation

  • Paul Ellis Marik


A COPD exacerbation is defined as an increase in the symptoms of COPD (dyspnea, cough, sputum production, and sputum purulence) of a magnitude greater than the normal day-to-day variability.1,2 An increase in airway inflammation is considered central to the pathogenesis of a COPD exacerbation. A stimulus that acutely increases airway inflammation results in increased bronchial tone, increased bronchial wall edema, and increased mucus production. These processes worsen ventilation–perfusion mismatch and expiratory flow limitation. Corresponding clinical manifestations include worsening gas exchange, dyspnea, cough, sputum production, and sputum purulence, which are the cardinal manifestations of an exacerbation.


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Exacerbation Ipratropium Bromide Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Sputum Production 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care MedicineEastern Virginia Medical SchoolNorfolkUSA

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