The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

1996 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

Advances in the Management of Obstructive Lung Disease

John Heffner, MD Wednesday, November 6, 1996

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) presents a challenge to patient and physician alike to improve patients' functional capabilities and quality of life. New pharmacologic approaches include ipratropium to maintain adequate bronchodilatation and inhaled corticosteroids in selected patients. Efforts to mobilize secretions require careful patient selection to ensure benefit. New investigational observations in "rest" therapy for fatigued ventilatory muscles have application to acute and chronic care settings. Noninvasive ventilation has emerged as a valuable therapeutic tool for patients with acute exacerbations and respiratory failure. It is also clear that pulmonary rehabilitation offers an opportunity for patients to enhance their exercise capacity and cope with their disease. Assistance with end-of-life decision-making with promotion of advance directives is an additional important role for pulmonary rehabilitation programs.

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