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Treatment of patients with COPD and recurrent exacerbations: the role of infection and inflammation

Authors Santos S, Marín A, Serra-Batlles J, de la Rosa D, Solanes I, Pomares X, López-Sánchez M, Muñoz-Esquerre M, Miravitlles M

Received 15 October 2015

Accepted for publication 15 January 2016

Published 11 March 2016 Volume 2016:11(1) Pages 515—525


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Professor Hsiao-Chi Chuang

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Salud Santos,1,2 Alicia Marin,2,3 Joan Serra-Batlles,4 David de la Rosa,5 Ingrid Solanes,6 Xavier Pomares,7 Marta López-Sánchez,1 Mariana Muñoz-Esquerre,1 Marc Miravitlles2,8

1Pneumology Department, Hospital Universitari de Bellvitge, Universidad de Barcelona, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, 2Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Respiratorias (CIBERES), Madrid, 3Pneumology Department, Hospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol, Badalona, 4Pneumology Department, Hospital Universitari de Vic, 5Pneumology Unit, Hospital Plató, 6Pneumology Department, Biomedical Research Institute Sant Pau, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Universidad Autónoma, Barcelona, 7Pneumology Department, Hospital Universitari Parc Taulí, Sabadell, 8Pneumology Department, Hospital Universitari Vall d’Hebron, Barcelona, Spain

Abstract: Exacerbations of COPD represent an important medical and health care problem. Certain susceptible patients suffer recurrent exacerbations and as a consequence have a poorer prognosis. The effects of bronchial infection, either acute or chronic, and of the inflammation characteristic of the disease itself raise the question of the possible role of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory agents in modulating the course of the disease. However, clinical guidelines base their recommendations on clinical trials that usually exclude more severe patients and patients with more comorbidities, and thus often fail to reflect the reality of clinicians attending more severe patients. In order to discuss aspects of clinical practice of relevance to pulmonologists in the treatment and prevention of recurrent exacerbations in patients with severe COPD, a panel discussion was organized involving expert pulmonologists who devote most of their professional activity to day hospital care. This article summarizes the scientific evidence currently available and the debate generated in relation to the following aspects: bacterial and viral infections, chronic bronchial infection and its treatment with cyclic oral or inhaled antibiotics, inflammatory mechanisms and their treatment, and the role of computerized tomography as a diagnostic tool in patients with severe COPD and frequent exacerbations.

Keywords: COPD exacerbation, treatment, bronchial infection, anti-inflammatory treatment, antibiotics

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