Fast Five Quiz: How Much Do You Know About COPD?

Amanda M. K. Godfrey, MD; Zab Mosenifar, MD


May 27, 2020

ABG analysis provides the best clues as to acuteness and severity of disease exacerbation. Renal compensation generally occurs even in chronic CO2 retainers (ie, those with bronchitis); thus, pH usually is near normal. Any pH below 7.3 is typically considered a sign of acute respiratory compromise.

Serum chemistry evaluation is an important component in the workup of patients with COPD. Patients with COPD tend to retain sodium. Additionally, diuretics, beta-adrenergic agonists, and theophylline lower potassium levels, necessitating careful monitoring of serum potassium. Beta-adrenergic agonists also increase renal excretion of serum calcium and magnesium, which may be important when patients have hypokalemia.

Alpha1-antitrypsin levels should be measured in all patients with COPD who are under 40 years of age, as well as in those with a family history of emphysema at an early age, or in patients with emphysematous changes with no smoking history, as this may be an indication of alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency.

For more on the workup of COPD, read here.


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