Tobacco smoking is the main cause of COPD, and encouragement and support in smoking cessation is the best way to help the patient with COPD.The three major goals of COPD management are to lessen airflow limitation, to prevent and treat secondary medical complications, and to decrease respiratory symptoms and improve quality of life. Outpatient pharmacotherapy should be organized in a stepwise manner according the severity of disease, the aims being to induce bronchodilation, reduce inflammation, and facilitate expectoration, although the role of anti-inflammatory and mucolytic treatment of COPD has not been clearly established. Patients whose conditions are not well controlled with optimal pharmacotherapy are candidates for enrollment in a pulmonary rehabilitation program. Correction or prevention of hypoxemia is a priority, and long-term oxygen therapy supplementation prolongs survival in hypoxemic patients. With only limited data on criteria for hospital admission and the objectives of hospitalization, the published standards on the management of COPD include an expert consensus statement on these aspects of hospital care. Surgery, special considerations such as sleep, nutrition, and air travel, and ethical issues are discussed.
(CHEST 1998; 113:283S-287S)