Palliation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Ashima A Lal, Amy A Case
Annals of Palliative Medicine 2014, 3 (4): 276-85
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with a progressive course with a variable illness trajectory causing death either from respiratory failure or complications from its comorbities. Palliative care benefits patients throughout all stages of COPD, with a goal to manage patients' symptom burden which can reduce physical, psychological, and social complications. Dyspnea is the most common and distressing symptom patients with end stage COPD experience, which responds only partially to therapy and eventually becomes refractory to routine care. Palliative management goals aim at relieving refractory symptoms, improving function, and enhancing quality of life in patients with advanced illness and high symptom burden. Caregivers and informed patients can utilize palliative care resources to provide effective relief from refractory dyspnea and help patients maintain a dignified quality-of-life until the end of life. This review is focused on identifying current deficiencies in palliative care provided to patients with advanced COPD with attempts to overcome these. We hope to increase awareness of palliative care in advanced COPD to healthcare providers caring for this population of patients.


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