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Am J Med Sci. 1999 Aug;318(2):103-6.

Course and prognosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Louisiana State University School of Medicine, Shreveport 71130-3932, USA.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) continues to increase in incidence as the population of developed countries ages. Much time has been devoted to studying the natural course of this disorder and to searching for risk factors for a decline in respiratory function. The major risk factor for a decline in 1-second forced expiratory volume (FEV1) is cigarette smoking, and smoking cessation is a major part of its prevention. Other risk factors for development of COPD include passive exposure to cigarette smoke, age, and genetic factors including airway hyperreactivity, eosinophilia, and a history of atopy. This discussion presents a review of the current literature regarding the natural course and prognosis of COPD. The approach to patients with end-stage disease and the use of advance directives is considered.

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