Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science




Tom Colletti, DHSc, PA-C, DFAAPA


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. These patients come to both the office and hospital in a wide array of presentations, both for chronic management and acute exacerbations. An exacerbation is defined as an acute increase in symptoms including dyspnea, cough, and sputum production beyond their baseline that is not managed under their current daily medications. In the event of an acute COPD exacerbation, it is the provider’s responsibility to evaluate if the patient would be best treated in the outpatient or inpatient setting. There have been several tools and algorithms created to help determine what patients need hospitalization, but patients are still often inappropriately treated in the outpatient setting. Even after admission for a COPD exacerbation there are many different oral or IV medications and nebulizer breathing treatments that have been used and studied. This study aims to analyze what signs are best indicative of inpatient treatment of COPD and to provide an approach to what patients warrant hospitalization. Further research will also be conducted to determine what specific treatment protocols and medication provides the best outcome for these patients.


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