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A Journal on Diseases of the Respiratory System


Official Journal of the Italian Society of Thoracic Endoscopy
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Minerva Pneumologica 2007 September;46(3):229-34

language: Italian

Treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations in the elderly

Urso D. L. 1, Luchetti L. 2

1 U.O. di Pronto Soccorso - Medina d’Urgenza Ospedale Civile Vittorio Cosentino, Cariati (CS)
2 U.O. di Geriatria Ospedale Guglielmo da Saliceto, Piacenza


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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the fourth most common cause of death. The prevalence of COPD in the older population is expected to increase in the next few decades. Moreover, COPD is the second most common cause of disability. COPD exacerbations, of which infections are the most common precipitating factor, cause most COPD-related hospitalizations. The treatment of exacerbations is based on bronchodilators, corticosteroids, antibiotics, oxygen therapy and noninvasive positive pressure ventilation. Frequent exacerbations, severely impaired health status, comorbidity, and older age have been correlated with a greater risk of long-lasting and debilitating exacerbations. Patients with these characteristics are most likely to benefit from an aggressive therapeutic strategy.

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