Factors to Consider in COPD Patients

Bronchiectasis in COPD patients can lead to earlier identification and better treatment

(RxWiki News) Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is made up of several diseases that affect the lungs. A new study shows what role a disease associated with COPD plays in the health of patients.

A recent study found that patients with moderate or severe COPD were likely to have bronchiectasis. The study found several factors directly related to bronchiectasis. This can help doctors better treat and diagnosis patients showing symptoms of both COPD and bronchiectasis.

"If you were diagnosed with COPD, ask your doctor about additional tests for diseases linked to COPD."

Bronchiectasis is the destruction of large airways in the lungs. It has been previously shown that COPD patients are more likely to have bronchiectasis.

Researchers from the Hospital General de Requena in Valencia, Spain examined 92 patients with COPD.  51 had severe COPD and 41 had moderate COPD. Patients filled out questionaires, mucus samples were collected for six months, blood samples were taken and a breathing test was given. A computed tomography (CT) screening was used to determine if a patient had bronchiectasis.

Out of all the patients, 53 COPD patients had bronchiectasis. The factors linked exclusively to bronchiectasis included at least one hospitalization incident due to COPD worsening in the past year, severe airflow obstruction and a possible infectious microorganism found in the mucus of patients.

Bronchiectasis was much more common in severe COPD patients compared to patients with moderate COPD.

Isolating these three factors gives doctors a way to look for bronchiectasis in patients with COPD. Doctors can then diagnosis bronchiectasis much earlier than before, which can lead to longer life and increased lung capacity.

Future research can determine whether or not bronchiectasis plays a role in the worsening of COPD. For now, how bronchiectasis affects COPD patients has been identified, giving doctors a powerful tool for diagnosis which can lead to a better life for COPD patients. 

This study was published in the November edition of CHEST, the journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.

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Review Date: 
November 23, 2011