The importance of the assessment of pulmonary function in COPD

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25 Scopus citations


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is defined by airflow limitation caused by chronic bronchitis or emphysema. Spirometry is an essential step in the diagnosis and staging of COPD. Guidelines advise spirometry as the gold standard for COPD diagnosis. Spirometry is also an important part of monitoring COPD. Despite this, many patients are treated for presumed COPD without ever undergoing pulmonary function testing. This article reviews pulmonary function testing and the abnormalities seen in COPD. Discussed is the role spirometry plays in the diagnosis and management of COPD, and in quantifying the severity of COPD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)745-752
Number of pages8
JournalMedical Clinics of North America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide
  • Lung volumes
  • Spirometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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