Long Island, New York—A recent study underscores the importance of monitoring exacerbations in determining the level of treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The article in the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease discusses the results of a study analyzing data on 900 COPD patients from 2005 to 2010 at the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Long Island, New York. Researchers found that 44% of the patients in the study were undertreated based on Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) clinical guidelines at the time. The GOLD guidelines then grouped patients into four categories based strictly on the amount of airway blockage determined by spirometric lung function tests in the pulmonary lab. Yet, the study reports that patients who were undertreated had far fewer exacerbations, on average, than those whose treatment was in line with the guidelines. A year after the study ended, the GOLD group revised its guidelines to take into account patients’ exacerbation rates.

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