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Case by case: COPD

Posted on: 8 Oct 2019

With thanks to Dr. Clare Hunter, Civil Aviation Authority Authorised Medical Examiner for her input into this module.

Learning objectives

  1. The diagnosis of COPD, with reference to both the NICE and GOLD guidelines and the difference between them.
  2. Initial treatment of COPD.
  3. Escalation and de-escalation of COPD treatment.
  4. The management of COPD exacerbations.
  5. Palliative care in a patient with COPD.
  6. What to do if a patient with COPD requests a ‘fit to fly’ letter.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic respiratory disease that presents insidiously and is probably underdiagnosed – NICE estimate that there are three million people in the UK with COPD, of whom two million are undiagnosed.1 COPD accounts for around 5% of all deaths in the UK and is associated with comorbidities including heart failure, depression and general disability and impaired quality of life.1 This module will discuss the diagnosis and management of COPD, referencing both the NICE and GOLD guidelines and will include a discussion about the palliative care management of patients with COPD and the reasons behind the recent trend away from the use of inhaled steroids (ICS).

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The Primary Care Respiratory Academy has been developed and is produced by Cogora, the publisher of Pulse, Nursing in Practice, Healthcare Leader, Management in Practice and The Pharmacist working in partnership with PCRS.

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