New guidelines for COPD adopted

DZL doctors revise guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Graphic: Alveoli with COPD

Graphic: Alveoli with COPD

© Angelika Kramer

How do doctors diagnose COPD? Which therapies should be used and how? The guidelines for this were revised at the beginning of 2018; doctors from all DZL locations were involved; Prof. Dr. Nowak, director of the Institute and Outpatient Clinic for Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine represented the DZL Munich site.

The new German guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with chronic obstructive bronchitis and pulmonary emphysema (COPD) contain some significant changes: The disease stage of the patient is now defined by the COPD stage (1 to 4) and the severity (A-D). The redefinition also includes lung function, exacerbation rate and symptom severity. Pattern recognition provides physicians with simple criteria for differentiating between asthma and COPD. 

In drug therapy, the importance of inhaled corticosteroids has been significantly downgraded. They should only be used if exacerbations occur despite expansion of the bronchial tubes by bronchodilators or if an asthmatic component is present. Corticosteroids are no longer part of standard therapy.

Last but not least, the new guidelines should significantly reduce the partially unnecessary use of antibiotics in the treatment of COPD. Non-drug therapies, on the other hand, are regarded as equivalent, including, for example, smoking cessation, physical training, respiratory physiotherapy or vaccinations against influenza and pneumococcus.

How can the quality of life of COPD patients be improved? Scientists at the CPC-M are also investigating this. Read more here ...