Diagnosis Of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Biology Essay

Chronic clogging pneumonic disease ( COPD ) refers to a disease province defined by airflow obstructor that is non to the full reversible even after disposal of short moving bronchodilators such as salbutamol. ( 1 ) The airflow obstructor is normally progressive and is linked with an unnatural inflammatory response to noxious atoms or gases. ( 2 ) A scope of pathologies such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, bronchiectasis or combination of these may be present in a individual enduring from COPD as shown in the undermentioned diagram. In add-on, bronchodilator reversibility may besides be seen which may take us towards the coincident diagnosing of asthma. ( 1 )

Chronic bronchitis



Fixed airflow obstructor

Reversibility with short moving bronchodilator

Figure 1: Overlap of conditions seen in COPD ( 1 )

We will write a custom essay sample on
Diagnosis Of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Biology Essay
or any similar topic only for you
Order now

COPD consequences in a decrease in the ratio of forced expiratory volume in one second ( FEV1 ) to forced critical capacity, such that FEV1/FVC & lt ; 0.7 ( 3 ) Some of the symptoms of COPD include relentless cough, phlegm production, dyspnea ( shortness of breath ) . ( 4 ) .In add-on to the pulmonary symptoms, several systemic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and depression may besides be observed in people enduring from COPD. ( 1 ) Therefore, COPD is non merely a disease but is a syndrome whose effects are non limited merely to the lungs. It is of import to see during diagnosing that COPD is more than merely a job with airway obstructor.

Presently around 900,000 people are diagnosed with COPD, but the Numberss are expected to be higher. This is because many tobacco users do non confer with their physicians frequently believing that their symptoms are a consequence of a ‘smoker ‘s cough ‘ . ( 4 ) Besides partially because it is clinically soundless until the disease is good advanced ( 5 )

The British Thoracic Society guidelines recommend that anyone exhibiting the symptoms of COPD should be diagnosed utilizing spirometry to determine the presence of airflow restriction. ( 6 ) However, the prevalence estimations of COPD differ mostly depending on the spirometric standards used for airway obstructor such as FEV1/FVC fixed ratio & lt ; 70 % versus lower bound of normal. Meta analysis of epidemiological probes based on spirometry shows the COPD prevalence to be 8-9 % . However, the prevalence of COPD diagnosed by the doctors is merely approximately 1.5 % , which is a batch lower than suggested by population based spirometric studies. Therefore, there is presently an issue of underdiagnosis of COPD in primary attention puting and potentially many persons are non having the intervention they require. ( 7 )

Structural and functional alterations in the lungs of an person with COPD:

The innate and adaptative inflammatory response to toxic atoms and gases, as consequence of baccy smoke is associated with the pathogenesis of COPD. The infiltration of immune cells into the lung tissue is a portion of the tissue fix and reconstructing procedure which is caused by the chemical abuse to the lung tissue in minority of the tobacco users. As a consequence of this procedure the bronchial mucous secretion secretory organs are enlarged, and the walls of the conducting air passages are thickened which narrows their lms. Although inflammatory procedure occurs in all the tobacco users, it does non impact the lung map in bulk of the tobacco users. It is merely in the little minority that the inflammatory procedure is amplified taking to weave reconstructing and hence lesion of the lungs associated with chronic bronchitis and emphysema. ( 8 )


Emphysema is defined as a status which is characterized by lasting and unnatural expansion of the air sac, followed by devastation of their walls without obvious fibrosis. The devastation of alveolar walls is mediated by CD8 T lymphocytes that lead to decrease in elastic kick which is the impulsive force per unit area for flow rate of air out of the lungs. Therefore, emphysema will take to reduced expiratory air flow by cut downing the elastic kick. ( 9 )

Chronic bronchitis

A individual is diagonosed with chronic bronchitis if the symptoms of chronic cough and phlegm production were seen on most yearss of the month for at least three months in two back-to-back old ages without any other implicit in account. ( 8 )

Analysis of phlegm of tobacco users with COPD shows that interleukin-10 ( IL 10 ) which reduces inflammatory response is decreased. On the other manus interleukin-8 ( IL-8 ) which recruits neutrophils are increased. These neutrophils may lend to increased secretory map of the mucose secretory organs. ( 9 ) . The increased production of mucous secretion can take to obstructor of little air passages characteristic chronic bronchitis.

The presence of those symptoms does non bespeak that the disease will come on to go COPD. This is shown by longitudinal surveies of people who had normal lung map despite holding the symptoms of chronic bronchitis. However, in persons with terrible airflow restriction presence of chronic bronchitis leads to more rapid diminution in lung map. ( 8,10 )

This is besides supported by observations made by Fletcher and his associates. They found that bulk of topics who developed air flow restriction did non hold chronic bronchitis. They besides found that merely 15-25 % of tobacco users developed air flow restriction. ( 8,11 )

The flow of air in and out of the lungs is determined by the merchandise of opposition to flux in carry oning air passages and the elastic force ( conformity ) of the gas exchange surface ( air sac ) that must be overcome. The merchandise of opposition ( R ) and conformity ( C ) is defined as the clip changeless ( RC ) of the lung as their units merely to clip. In normal persons lung conformity remains changeless even though the external respiration frequences are varied. This is because clip invariables in different part of the lungs are equally distributed. However, in individual with COPD the clip constants become longer in parts which are affected by little airway obstructor and/or devastation caused by emphysema. This causes conformity to go frequency dependent. ( 8, 12 )

As COPD become s more terrible clip required to empty the lungs increases. This is indicated by the measurings of FEV1 and FEV1/FVC which reflects the distribution of clip changeless within the lung during forced termination. The addition in clip to run out air leads to hyperinflation of the lung as the stimulation to animate the following breath arrives before the lung has returned to the old resting degree of rising prices between breaths. This hyperinflation of lung occurs foremost at exercising and subsequently at remainder, which is the major cause of symptoms in COPD. ( 8 )

Diagnosis of COPD:

The British Thoracic Society guidelines recommend that diagnosing of COPD must be considered in patients aged 35 old ages who smoke or have smoked, and have chronic symptoms of shortness of breath, cough and phlegm. This diagnosing is confirmed by utilizing spirometry to show airflow obstructor. ( 6 ) The undermentioned diagram demonstrates that smoking accelerates the normal age related diminution in lung map.

Figure 2: Normal age related diminution in lung map ( 8 )

It besides shows that despite the irreversible structural alterations produced by baccy fume, the diminution in lung map returns to normal rate if the patient gives up smoking. Therefore, if COPD is detected early smoke surcease advice could be targeted, which may forestall the patterned advance of the fatal disease. ( 6 )


Spirometry is a method of measuring lung map by mensurating the rate at which the lung alterations volume during forced take a breathing manoeuvres. It begins with the patient inhaling to the full followed by forced halitus. Halitus is continued every bit long as possible or until the tableland for halitus is reached. The volumes are so recorded on a graph. ( 13 ) .

Spirometry is a dependable method of distinguishing between clogging conditions such as asthma and COPD, and restrictive diseases such as fibrotic lung disease. Spirometry is besides the most effectual manner of finding the badness of COPD. ( 6 )

Spirometry can besides be used to measuring patterned advance of other diseases such as cystic fibrosis and congestive bosom failure. It can besides be used to measure hazard associated with pectoral surgeries such as lobectomy and organ organ transplant. ( 13 )

Spirometry gives following three of import steps

FEV1 which is the volume of air that the patient is able to expire in the first second of forced termination.

FVC which is the entire volume of air that the patient can forcibly expire in one breath

FEV1/FVC which is expressed as a per centum.

Basic spirometry allows us to bring forth graph shown in figure 3, which shows Forced Expiratory Volume in one second ( FEV1 ) and Forced Vital Capacity ( FVC ) in a normal topic and in a individual with an clogging air passage. COPD can be diagnosed merely if FEV1 & lt ; 80 % predicted and FEV1/FVC & lt ; 0.7 ( 70 % ) . The extent of FEV1 decrease indicates the badness of airflow obstructor in COPD. ( 6 )

Figure 3: FEV1 and FVC in a normal person and a COPD patient ( 6 )

Many electronic spirometers can mensurate expiratory flow plotted against the volume of air exhaled. This ensuing hint is called a flow volume curve. The overall form of the curve is helpful for observing airflow obstructor at an early phase. Following curve is a normal flow volume curve bespeaking a rapid rise in the expiratory flow which is followed by a steady diminution until the air is exhaled. ( 6 )

Figure 4: Normal flow volume curve ( 6 )

In a patient with clogging air passages disease, the peak expiratory flow ( PEF ) is reduced and the autumn in airflow to finish halitus follows a typical dipping curve.

Figure 5: Flow volume curve of an person with clogging air passage disease ( 6 )

Definitions of the badness of COPD

The NICE COPD guideline defines mild airflow obstructor as FEV1 between 50-80 % , moderate airflow obstructor as FEV1 between 30-49 % and terrible airflow obstructor as FEV1 & lt ; 30 % predicted.

The appraisal of badness based on FEV1 is of import as it can steer pharmacotherapy. It has besides been associated with COPD results such as declaration of acute aggravations and mortality. In add-on, it can besides supply predictive information. ( 14 )

Importance of accurate diagnosing of COPD

Drugs which are used to handle COPD such as inhaled corticoids have been associated with reduced bone denseness and increased hazard of pneumonia. The usage of anticholinergrics in COPD has besides been shown to increase hazard of cardiovascular events. ( 14 ) . Therefore, it is of import that an accurate diagnosing is made non merely to avoid unneeded hazards and costs from the intervention of people without COPD, but besides to supply appropriate intervention to the people who really have COPD.

Evaluation of spirometry in the diagonis of COPD

Factors impacting the truth of spirometry

The most common ground for inconsistent readings is patient technique. Factors such as inadequate or uncomplete inspiration, deficiency of blast attempt during halitus and some halitus through the olfactory organ can take to inaccurate readings. ( 6 )

For illustration patient ‘s inability to bring forth maximal halitus may take to an underestimate of forced critical capacity ( FVC ) and on occasion to an underestimate of FEV1. ( 15 ) Underestimate of FVC can ensue in evident addition in FEV1/FVC ratio, which could potentially label person with airway restriction as holding normal lung map. This may ensue in the patient non holding the intervention they need. On the other manus, underestimate of FEV1 may take to evident lessening in FEV1/FVC ratio, which may label a normal individual as holding the job of airway restriction. ( 15 ) This may expose the patients to unneeded intervention. Therefore, it is recommended that spirometry is repeated to verify the position of patients with positive trial consequences to cut down false positive results. ( 15 )

In add-on, there are choice control facets for the technicians excessively which can impact the truth of the readings. It is recommended that spirometers must be unbroken clean, and truth checked on a regular basis harmonizing to the maker ‘s recommendations. A big volume synringe can be used to graduate spirometers and to look into their truth. ( 6 )

Before construing the consequences of spirometry it is of import to cognize whether the trials were performed with satisfactory criterions. We should utilize the information with cautiousness where recognized criterions have non been met. Several mistakes are normally made when spirometry is used to enter informations. Patients may neglect to get down from the true sum lung capacity which will give lower FEV1 and FVC readings. If the patient fails to go on to true terminal of termination FVC will be low, and it will take to false addition in FEV1/FVC ratio. Mouth leak besides means that extremum expiratory flow, FEV1 and FVC will be low. ( 16 )

The predicted values for lung map consequences must take into history the type of equipment used ( 17 ) .This is because equipments such as volume roll uping spirometers may hold an mistake in FEV1 measurings ( 15 ) 18. It is of import to see that individual per centum predicated value is non the right manner of finding whether the consequence is unnatural. This is because the cut off values for abnormalcy will be different depending on the age, gender and tallness of the topics. ( 16 )

Variation of prevalence estimations with different spirometry standards

Presently there is a deficiency of consensus about the definition of COPD. ( ref10 ) “ The BTS and NICE guidelines define airway obstructor utilizing the fixed ratio of 0.70 and FEV1 below 80 % predicated, while GOLD and ATS/ERS COPD guidelines merely use the 0.70 fixed ratio ( FEV1 can be in normal scope ) ” . ( 19 )

The GOLD and ATS guidelines recommend usage of spirometry in the accurate diagnosing of COPD. However, the prevalence estimations of COPD utilizing spirometry can change by two crease or more depending on the definition used to classily mild disease. ( 20,21,22 )

FEV1/FVC fixed ratio has been shown to change harmonizing to the age, weight and gender of the population. ( 16 ) 19. For illustration, FEC1/FVC decreases with age even though an person is healthy and a non tobacco user. Hence, utilizing FEV1/FVC & lt ; 0.7 as a cut off consequence in incorrect diagnosings of normal persons. The fixed ratio attack appears to overrate COPD in older persons aged over 40 and undervalue it in immature adults. ( 20,23,24 ) . Therefore, current ATS/ERS guideline strongly urge the usage of a cut off value for the FEV1/FVC ratio set at the 5th percentile of the normal distribution, instead than at a fixed value of 0.7, in order to cut down figure of false positive diagnosings. ( 5 ) The prevalence estimates utilizing the fixed ratio standards ( GOLD phase 1 and higher ) were significantly higher than for LLN standard. The added demand of an FEV1 & lt ; 80 % and FEV1/FVC ratio below LLN were 1-3 per centum points lower than estimations for GOLD stages 2-4. Therefore, usage of FEV1/FVC & lt ; LLN standard alternatively of the FEV1/FVC & lt ; 0.7 should minimise the known age prejudices and besides better reflect clinically important airflow restriction. ( 20 )


Chronic clogging pneumonic disease ( COPD ) is a spectrum of upsets which include chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It is besides one of the major causes of mortality. An early diagnosing of COPD is particularly good to the patients who have developed their symptoms due to tobacco smoke, as smoking surcease allows rate of diminution in lung map to return to that of a non tobacco user. ( 6 ) However, in England and Wales, there is presently an issue of under diagnosing of COPD. ( 19 )

The current GOLD and ATS guidelines recommend the usage of spirometry in the diagnosing of COPD. However, there are issues with the dependability of spirometry as the readings can be inconsistent chiefly due to inability of patients to make the trial right. Therefore, before construing the information it is of import to guarantee that the trials have been carried out with satisfactory criterions. ( 16 )

It is logical to presume that a individual with COPD will do a passage from normal spirometry to clinically relevant airway obstructor. However, merely a little proportion of people with unnatural spirometry consequences will of all time develop COPD, irrespective of whether or they smoke. In add-on, retrospective analysis of the cardiovascular wellness survey ( CHS ) show that really few people whose FEV1/FVC indicated that they fall in arbitrary GOLD phase I have really developed COPD. ( 25 )

It is found that the prevalence rates of COPD vary depending on the spirometry standards. The fixed FEV1/FVC ratio varies harmonizing to age, sex, and weight of an person. It is of import to take this into consideration while construing the information to cut down false positives.The fixed FEV1/FVC ratio attack appears to overrate COPD in older persons aged over 40 and undervalue it in immature grownups. In add-on, people who fall in the class of GOLD phase I may non needfully represent people with important airflow limitation.Therefore, it has been suggested that usage of FEV1/FVC & lt ; LLN standard alternatively should minimise the known age prejudices and besides better reflect clinically important airflow restriction. ( 20 )


Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one? Check it out