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Acute exacerbation of COPD: is it the "stroke of the lungs"?

Authors Hillas G, Perlikos F, Tzanakis N

Received 10 February 2016

Accepted for publication 27 April 2016

Published 13 July 2016 Volume 2016:11(1) Pages 1579—1586


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Charles Downs

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Georgios Hillas,1 Fotis Perlikos,1 Nikolaos Tzanakis2

1Department of Critical Care and Pulmonary Services, University of Athens Medical School, Evangelismos Hospital, Athens, 2Department of Thoracic Medicine, University Hospital of Heraklion, Medical School, University of Crete, Crete, Greece

Abstract: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the top five major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Despite worldwide health care efforts, costs, and medical research, COPD figures demonstrate a continuously increasing tendency in mortality. This is contrary to other top causes of death, such as neoplasm, accidents, and cardiovascular disease. A major factor affecting COPD-related mortality is the acute exacerbation of COPD (AECOPD). Exacerbations and comorbidities contribute to the overall severity in individual patients. Despite the underestimation by the physicians and the patients themselves, AECOPD is a really devastating event during the course of the disease, similar to acute myocardial infarction in patients suffering from coronary heart disease. In this review, we focus on the evidence that supports the claim that AECOPD is the “stroke of the lungs”. AECOPD can be viewed as: a Semicolon or disease’s full-stop period, Triggering a catastrophic cascade, usually a Relapsing and Overwhelming event, acting as a Killer, needing Emergent treatment.

Keywords: COPD, acute exacerbation, stroke

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