COPD Diagnosis Procedure [How To]

COPD Diagnosis Procedure [How To]

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (Review)


  • Also known as chronic obstructive lung disease and chronic airflow limitation
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a disease state characterized by airflow obstruction caused by emphysema or chronic bronchitis.
  • Progressive airflow limitation occurs, associated with an abnormal inflammatory response of the lungs that is not completely reversible.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease leads to pulmonary insufficiency, pulmonary hypertension, and cor pulmonale.


  • Cough
  • Exertional dyspnea
  • Wheezing and crackles
  • Sputum production
  • Weight loss
  • Barrel chest (emphysema) (Fig. 58-11)
  • Use of accessory muscles for breathing
  • Prolonged expiration
  • Orthopnea
  • Cardiac dysrhythmias
  • Congestion and hyperinflation seen on chest xray.
  • ABG levels that indicate respiratory acidosis and hypoxemia
  • Pulmonary function tests that demonstrate decreased vital capacity


  • Monitor vital signs.
  • Administer a low concentration of oxygen (1 to 2 L/min) as prescribed; the stimulus to breathe is a low arterial PO2 instead of an increased PCO2.
  • Monitor pulse oximetry.
  • Provide respiratory treatments and CPT.
  • Instruct the client in diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing techniques and pursed-lip breathing techniques.
  • Record the color, amount, and consistency of sputum.
  • Suction fluids from the client’s lungs, if necessary, to clear the airway and prevent infection.
  • Monitor weight.
  • Encourage small frequent meals to maintain nutrition and prevent dyspnea.
  • Provide a high-calorie, high-protein diet with supplements.
  • Encourage fluid intake up to 3000 mL/day to keep secretions thin, unless contraindicated.
  • Place the client in a Fowler’s position and leaning forward to aid in breathing (Fig. 58-13).
  • Allow activity as tolerated.
  • Administer bronchodilators as prescribed, and instruct the client in the use of oral and inhalant medications.
  • Administer corticosteroids as prescribed for exacerbations.
  • Administer mucolytics as prescribed to thin secretions.
  • Administer antibiotics for infection if prescribed.


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