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COPD

Care Guidelines to Prevent Acute COPD

The American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) and the Canadian Thoracic Society (CTS) announced in October 2014 the release of Prevention of Acute Exacerbation of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: American College of Chest Physicians and Canadian Thoracic Society Guideline in the journal CHEST. The guideline, a first of its kind, provides evidence-based recommendations aimed at prevention of COPD exacerbations, which can cause frequent hospital readmissions, death during or after a hospital stay, and can potentially greatly reduce the quality of life for patients along with carrying a heavy financial burden.

A release from the American College of Chest Physicians quotes Dr. Jean Bourbeau, Guideline Vice-Chair and CTS member, as saying, “Previous guidelines primarily address the management of COPD exacerbations. The prevention of acute exacerbations has not been a major focus until recently. These new guidelines fill in the gaps that previously existed for prevention of exacerbations. The guideline is also unique as it is entirely focused on the prevention of acute exacerbations of COPD, and the joint effort of CTS and CHEST brought together a team of multidisciplinary clinicians representing pulmonary medicine and rehabilitation.”

The release notes that the guidelines address old and new pharmacological and nonpharmacological therapies available for prevention of COPD exacerbations and address the void, which had previously existed in the management of the care of patients suffering from COPD.

“According to the CDC, in 2010, the US cost for COPD was projected to be approximately $49.9 billion, and a study in the journal Respiratory Medicine reported that hospitalizations due to exacerbations account for more than 50% of the cost of managing COPD in North America and Europe,” said Dr. Gerard Criner, Guideline Chair, CHEST member, and Director of the Temple Lung Center. “COPD is the third-leading cause of death in the United States and the fourth-leading cause of death in Canada. Our work in preventing exacerbations will help to improve the quality of lives for the millions living with this chronic condition. We hope it will also ease the financial burden associated with COPD.”

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