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Case review

Not another exacerbation of COPD

Nicole Goh

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© LJUPCO SMOKOVSKI/STOCK.ADOBE.COM MODEL USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY

Abstract

A 68-year-old recently retired male hairstylist with presumed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease presents with increasing dyspnoea and a persistent dry cough. Do his symptoms represent an exacerbation of COPD or some other condition?

Key Points

  • Spirometry is required for a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • Diagnosis of interstitial lung diseases, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), requires a multidisciplinary approach.
  • IPF is an irreversible and progressive form of interstitial lung disease, with no known cause, that is associated with a poor prognosis.
  • Antifibrotic therapies (pirfenidone and nintedanib) significantly slow disease progression by about 50% in patients with mild-to-moderate IPF.
  • Early diagnosis of IPF is important so that antifibrotic therapy can be offered early to best preserve lung function.
  • Supportive care is important in the management of patients with IPF and should be considered early, irrespective of antifibrotic therapy.

Figures

© LJUPCO SMOKOVSKI/STOCK.ADOBE.COM MODEL USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY
© LJUPCO SMOKOVSKI/STOCK.ADOBE.COM MODEL USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY