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      Acute exacerbation of COPD: is it the “stroke of the lungs”?

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          Abstract

          Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the top five major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Despite worldwide health care efforts, costs, and medical research, COPD figures demonstrate a continuously increasing tendency in mortality. This is contrary to other top causes of death, such as neoplasm, accidents, and cardiovascular disease. A major factor affecting COPD-related mortality is the acute exacerbation of COPD (AECOPD). Exacerbations and comorbidities contribute to the overall severity in individual patients. Despite the underestimation by the physicians and the patients themselves, AECOPD is a really devastating event during the course of the disease, similar to acute myocardial infarction in patients suffering from coronary heart disease. In this review, we focus on the evidence that supports the claim that AECOPD is the “stroke of the lungs”. AECOPD can be viewed as: a Semicolon or disease’s full-stop period, Triggering a catastrophic cascade, usually a Relapsing and Overwhelming event, acting as a Killer, needing Emergent treatment.

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          Most cited references 51

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          The natural history of chronic airflow obstruction.

          A prospective epidemiological study of the early stages of the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was performed on London working men. The findings showed that forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) falls gradually over a lifetime, but in most non-smokers and many smokers clinically significant airflow obstruction never develops. In susceptible people, however, smoking causes irreversible obstructive changes. If a susceptible smoker stops smoking he will not recover his lung function, but the average further rates of loss of FEV1 will revert to normal. Therefore, severe or fatal obstructive lung disease could be prevented by screening smokers' lung function in early middle age if those with reduced function could be induced to stop smoking. Infective processes and chronic mucus hypersecretion do not cause chronic airflow obstruction to progress more rapidly. There are thus two largely unrelated disease processes, chronic airflow obstruction and the hypersecretory disorder (including infective processes).
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            Respiratory viruses, symptoms, and inflammatory markers in acute exacerbations and stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

            The effects of respiratory viral infection on the time course of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbation were examined by monitoring changes in systemic inflammatory markers in stable COPD and at exacerbation. Eighty-three patients with COPD (mean [SD] age, 66.6 [7.1] yr, FEV(1), 1.06 [0.61] L) recorded daily peak expiratory flow rate and any increases in respiratory symptoms. Nasal samples and blood were taken for respiratory virus detection by culture, polymerase chain reaction, and serology, and plasma fibrinogen and serum interleukin-6 (IL-6) were determined at stable baseline and exacerbation. Sixty-four percent of exacerbations were associated with a cold occurring up to 18 d before exacerbation. Seventy-seven viruses (39 [58.2%] rhinoviruses) were detected in 66 (39.2%) of 168 COPD exacerbations in 53 (64%) patients. Viral exacerbations were associated with frequent exacerbators, colds with increased dyspnea, a higher total symptom count at presentation, a longer median symptom recovery period of 13 d, and a tendency toward higher plasma fibrinogen and serum IL-6 levels. Non-respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) respiratory viruses were detected in 11 (16%), and RSV in 16 (23.5%), of 68 stable COPD patients, with RSV detection associated with higher inflammatory marker levels. Respiratory virus infections are associated with more severe and frequent exacerbations, and may cause chronic infection in COPD. Prevention and early treatment of viral infections may lead to a decreased exacerbation frequency and morbidity associated with COPD.
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              Depressive symptoms and health-related quality of life: the Heart and Soul Study.

              Little is known regarding the extent to which patient-reported health status, including symptom burden, physical limitation, and quality of life, is determined by psychosocial vs physiological factors among patients with chronic disease. To compare the contributions of depressive symptoms and measures of cardiac function to the health status of patients with coronary artery disease. Cross-sectional study of 1024 adults with stable coronary artery disease recruited from outpatient clinics in the San Francisco Bay Area between September 2000 and December 2002. Main Measures Measurement of depressive symptoms using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ); assessment of cardiac function by measuring left ventricular ejection fraction on echocardiography, exercise capacity on treadmill testing, and ischemia on stress echocardiography; and measurement of a range of health status outcomes, including symptom burden, physical limitation, and quality of life, using the Seattle Angina Questionnaire. Participants were also asked to rate their overall health as excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor. Of the 1024 participants, 201 (20%) had depressive symptoms (PHQ score > or =10). Participants with depressive symptoms were more likely than those without depressive symptoms to report at least mild symptom burden (60% vs 33%; P<.001), mild physical limitation (73% vs 40%; P<.001), mildly diminished quality of life (67% vs 31%; P<.001), and fair or poor overall health (66% vs 30%; P<.001). In multivariate analyses adjusting for measures of cardiac function and other patient characteristics, depressive symptoms were strongly associated with greater symptom burden (odds ratio [OR], 1.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3-2.7; P =.002), greater physical limitation (OR, 3.1; 95% CI, 2.1-4.6; P<.001), worse quality of life (OR, 3.1; 95% CI, 2.2-4.6; P<.001), and worse overall health (OR, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.3-2.9; P<.001). Although decreased exercise capacity was associated with worse health status, left ventricular ejection fraction and ischemia were not. Among patients with coronary disease, depressive symptoms are strongly associated with patient-reported health status, including symptom burden, physical limitation, quality of life, and overall health. Conversely, 2 traditional measures of cardiac function-ejection fraction and ischemia-are not. Efforts to improve health status should include assessment and treatment of depressive symptoms.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                1176-9106
                1178-2005
                2016
                13 July 2016
                : 11
                : 1579-1586
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Critical Care and Pulmonary Services, University of Athens Medical School, Evangelismos Hospital, Athens
                [2 ]Department of Thoracic Medicine, University Hospital of Heraklion, Medical School, University of Crete, Crete, Greece
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Nikolaos Tzanakis, Department of Thoracic Medicine, Medical School, University of Crete, 71 003 Heraklion, Greece, Tel +30 2810 698 464 3636, Email tzanakis@ 123456med.uoc.gr
                Article
                copd-11-1579
                10.2147/COPD.S106160
                4948693
                27471380
                © 2016 Hillas et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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                Respiratory medicine

                stroke, copd, acute exacerbation

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