Management of COPD exacerbations.
Am Fam Physician. 2010 Mar 1;81(5):607-13
Authors: Evensen AE
Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease contribute to the high mortality rate associated with the disease. Randomized controlled trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of multiple interventions. The first step in outpatient management should be to increase the dosage of inhaled short-acting bronchodilators. Combining ipratropium and albuterol is beneficial in relieving dyspnea. Oral corticosteroids are likely beneficial, especially for patients with purulent sputum. The use of antibiotics reduces the risk of treatment failure and mortality in moderately or severely ill patients. Physicians should consider antibiotics for patients with purulent sputum and for patients who have inadequate symptom relief with bronchodilators and corticosteroids. The choice of antibiotic should be guided by local resistance patterns and the patient's recent history of antibiotic use. Hospitalized patients with exacerbations should receive regular doses of short-acting bronchodilators, continuous supplemental oxygen, antibiotics, and systemic corticosteroids. Noninvasive positive pressure ventilation or invasive mechanical ventilation is indicated in patients with worsening acidosis or hypoxemia.
PMID: 20187597 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]