Pathophysiology of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

In this article, we will discuss the Pathophysiology of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary (COPD). So, let’s get started.

Pathophysiology

Airflow obstruction (both large and small airways), hyperinflation due to air-trapping resulting in large voluminous lungs and inadequate gas exchange leading to hypoxemia and hypercapnia which are the most frequently encountered changes that constitute the clinical picture of COPD. A persistent reduction in the expiratory flow rate is the hallmark of COPD. An increase in residual volume, ratio of residual volume to total lung capacity, uneven ventilation, and ventilation-perfusion mismatch occur in COPD. Changes in the large airways (bronchitis) produce cough and sputum while changes in the small airways and alveoli are responsible for hypoxemia and hypercapnia. In most cases both bronchitis and emphysema are present but their relative contribution to obstruction varies from person to person.

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