The American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) recently partnered with the Canadian Thoracic Society (CTS) to create, for the first time ever, a series of guidelines with recommendations on preventing exacerbations of the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The Prevention of Acute Exacerbation of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: American College of Chest Physicians and Canadian Thoracic Society Guideline is the result of the joint project, which was published this Thursday at the CHEST journal.
The first-of-its-kind guideline is meant to provide physicians recommendations for the prevention of COPD exacerbations, based on the latest research data worldwide, analyzed by the two associations. Preventing exacerbations, a frequent cause for hospitalizations of patients suffering from COPD, is expected to reduce hospital readmissions, death during or after a hospitalization, as well as improve patients’ quality of life and relieve their health and financial burden.
“Previous guidelines primarily address the management of COPD exacerbations. The prevention of acute exacerbations has not been a major focus until recently,” explained the vice-chair of the guideline, Jean Bourbeau, who is a member of the CTS. “These new guidelines fill in the gaps that previously existed for prevention of exacerbations. The guideline is also unique as it is entirely focused on the prevention of acute exacerbations of COPD, and the joint effort of CTS and CHEST brought together a team of multidisciplinary clinicians representing pulmonary medicine and rehabilitation.”
“According to the CDC, in 2010, the US cost for COPD was projected to be approximately $49.9 billion, and a study in the journal Respiratory Medicine reported that hospitalizations due to exacerbations account for more than 50% of the cost of managing COPD in North America and Europe,” revealed the guideline chair, Gerard Criner, who is a member of the CHEST, and director of the Temple Lung Center.
The recommendations present in the guideline include not only new pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatments, but also the old guidelines for preventing exacerbations due to the pulmonary disease. One of the purposes of the work conducted by the CHEST and the CTS is to address the unmet need which they believe exist regarding the management of health care of COPD patients.
“COPD is the third-leading cause of death in the United States and the fourth-leading cause of death in Canada. Our work in preventing exacerbations will help to improve the quality of lives for the millions living with this chronic condition. We hope it will also ease the financial burden associated with COPD,” Criner added.
A two-part national Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Experience (COPDE) Survey, recently conducted by the COPD Foundation, revealed that there are still almost two-thirds of patients who don’t know much about exacerbations, as well as that 16% of the COPD patients who don’t know what they are at all. Managing exacerbations also requires educating patients and improving dialogue with physicians, according to the conclusions of the survey.