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Toward a Consensus Definition for COPD Exacerbations*

Roberto Rodriguez-Roisin, MD
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From the Department of Medicine, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Correspondence to: Roberto Rodriguez-Roisin, MD, Chief of Service, Servei de Pneumologia: Allergia Respiratòria, Hospital Clinic, Villarroel 170, Barcelona 08036, Spain; e-mail: roisin@medicina.ub.es



Chest. 2000;117(5_suppl_2):398S-401S. doi:10.1378/chest.117.5_suppl_2.398S
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In patients with COPD, an acute worsening of respiratory symptoms is often described as an exacerbation. Exacerbations are associated with a significant increase in mortality, hospitalization, and health-care utilization, but there is currently no widely accepted definition of what constitutes an exacerbation of COPD. This paper summarizes the discussions of the workshop, “COPD: Working Towards a Greater Understanding,” in which the participants proposed the following working definition of an exacerbation of COPD: a sustained worsening of the patient’s condition, from the stable state and beyond normal day-to-day variations, that is acute in onset and necessitates a change in regular medication in a patient with underlying COPD.

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