Self-management strategies in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a first step toward personalized medicine

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Purpose of review

Self-management has gained increased relevance in the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients. The heterogeneity in self-management interventions has complicated the development of recommendations for clinical practice. In this review, we present the latest findings regarding conceptual definition, effectiveness of self-management interventions and self-management strategies in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as a first step toward personalized medicine: what, how and to whom?

Recent findings

Self-management interventions have shown benefits in improving health-related quality of life and reducing hospital admissions. Favorable outcomes can only be achieved if patients have an ultimate goal, that is their desired achievements in their life. In the continuum of care, the components of the self-management program will vary to adapt to the condition of the patient (disease severity, comorbidities) and to factors such as patient motivation, confidence (self-efficacy), access to health care, family and social support. A combination of education, case management and patient-centric action plan has shown the best chance of success.


The individual patient's needs, own preferences and personal goals should inform the design of any intervention with a behavioral component. A continuous loop process has to be implemented to constantly assess what work and does not work, aiming at achieving the desired outcomes for a given patient.

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