Birmingham, AL—Acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are associated with significant long-term lung function loss, especially in those patients with mild COPD and following severe exacerbations, according to new research. The research, which was published online, ahead of print in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, analyzed data from the first 2,000 participants who returned for a follow-up visit 5 years after joining the COPDGene study. Results indicate that those with mild COPD (GOLD 1) experienced the greatest FEV1 decline and that each severe exacerbation was associated in that group with an additional 87 mL/year decline. Study authors note that medications used to prevent exacerbations have rarely, if ever, been studied in those with mild COPD, suggesting that a randomized trial of this group might be warranted.

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