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Prognostic factors in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Dolan, Stephen; Varkey, Basil

Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine: March 2005 - Volume 11 - Issue 2 - p 149-152
doi: 10.1097/01.mcp.0000153548.36054.8f
Obstructive, occupational, and environmental diseases

Purpose of review Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Its epidemiology has changed over the years and the key changes are a rising mortality rate and a greater incidence among women. Predicting survival time of patients with COPD is difficult. Reliable prognostic markers are useful and important information for patients, their families, and for the physician. The purpose of this review is to examine traditional and newer prognostic factors of COPD.

Recent findings Loss of fat free mass (FFM), need and frequency of hospitalization for acute exacerbation, and symptom score are now recognized as important parameters to supplement the traditional prognostic markers of age, forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), hypoxemia, and hypercapnia.

Summary A prognostic model based on office practice data now affords a means of more reliably predicting outcome for patients with COPD.

Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Wisconsin, USA

Correspondence to Stephen Dolan, Chief, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 5000 West National Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53295, USA

Tel: 414 384 2000 ext. 42765; e-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.