Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a term used to refer to a set of chronic lung diseases with pulmonary manifestations (e.g. emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or a combination of both) resulting from exposure to inhaled irritants such as cigarette smoke and environmental pollutants. The pulmonary aspects of COPD typically include characteristic lesions, chronic inflammation, excessive mucus production, and a degree of fixed airflow limitation associated with disease severity. This disease is one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. In the clinical setting, physicians rely heavily on spirometry and its outcome parameters (e.g. FEV1 and FVC) for diagnosis and monitoring as well as for the assessment of disease severity, as defined by the GOLD scale. Other lung function measurements, such as pressure-volume curves, forced oscillations, or thoracic imaging, are used in addition to bronchoprovocation tests to establish a diagnosis or evaluate disease progression.