Rodriguez-Roisin reported consensus criteria for an exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


Criteria for an exacerbation of COPD:

(1) previously stable clinical state

(2) acute onset

(3) sustained worsening of condition

(4) deterioration beyond normal day-to-day variation in clinical status

(5) requires a change in regular medication (or other therapy)


Symptoms of an acute exacerbation may include:

(1) increased shortness of breath (dyspnea)

(2) increased volume and purulence of sputum

(3) increased cough

(4) fever

(5) tachycardia

(6) impaired mental status


Patient Status

Severity of Acute Exacerbation

able to manage on own


need for medical assistance


significant deterioration requires hospitalization


after Table 2, page 400S Rodriguez-Roisin (2000).


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