Natural histories of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Stephen I. Rennard, Jørgen Vestbo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Concepts relating to the natural history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) arise most importantly from the classic study of Fletcher and colleagues (The Natural History of Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema, Oxford University Press, New York, 1976). This study, which evaluated working English men over 8 years, was used to construct a proposed life-long natural history. Although this is a classic study that has greatly advanced understanding of COPD, it has a number of limitations. Its duration is relatively short compared with the duration of COPD, so it is more cross-sectional than longitudinal. Itwasunable to distinguishamong varied "natural histories." It assessed primarily the FEV1, and the natural history of other features of COPD is largely undescribed. With advances in understanding the clinical features of COPD and with the development of evaluatingnewtools to assess patients with COPD, longitudinal studies evaluating COPD in novel ways and for longer durations are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)878-883
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the American Thoracic Society
Issue number9
StatePublished - Dec 2008


  • Biomarkers
  • Lung function
  • Severity
  • Symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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