COPD pp 261-266 | Cite as

Exacerbation of COPD

  • Jin Hwa LeeEmail author


An exacerbation of COPD is defined as a worsening of the patient’s respiratory symptoms beyond normal day-to-day variations requiring a change in medication. Viral or bacterial respiratory infections are the most common precipitating factors of COPD exacerbations. The diagnosis of COPD exacerbation is based on aggravation of the patient’s symptoms without possible other causes such as pneumonia, heart failure, and pulmonary thromboembolism. Two key elements to treat COPD exacerbation are systemic corticosteroids and antibiotics, which may provide rapid clinical and functional recovery, reduction of risk of recurrence and/or treatment failure, and shortening length of hospital stay. The other treatments include inhaled short-acting bronchodilators, oxygen supplementation, and mechanical ventilation. For management of exacerbation, several issues need to be resolved, for example, optimal duration of systemic corticosteroids and/or antibiotics and the choice of the antibiotic.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal MedicineCollege of Medicine, Ewha Womans UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

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