Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a serious category of lung disease characterized by airflow obstruction and can lead to a prolonged time to blow out the air from the lungs.
People with COPD can have different forms of this obstructive lung disease.
Patients may have signs and symptoms consistent with one form of the disease or a combination of features.
The UPMC Comprehensive Lung Center, which offers both diagnosis and second opinion consultations for people with COPD, is the clinical home to the Emphysema/COPD Research Center. While there is no cure for COPD, doctors at this center at UPMC are experts at managing the disease an d providing treatments that can ease the symptoms.
The Emphysema/COPD Research Center is a nationally recognized center conducting critical studies to understand why:
This groundbreaking research should lead to important knowledge that might allow prevention of the disease in the future.
For those patients with COPD, these investigators are also attempting to find the pathways that lead to different forms of the disease, and treatments to stop progression of the disease once it occurs.
The same doctors attempting to research the different types of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), provide care for peop le with COPD at the UPMC Comprehensive Lung Center. They recognize that not all treatments help every patient with COPD.
A comprehensive clinical assessment focuses on correct disease classification and the selection of treatment options unique to each patient’s disease characteristics.
To determine the best route for treatment, UPMC specialists will:
The most common symptoms of COPD include:
COPD is most commonly a disease of smokers, although not all smokers develop COPD.
COPD can be recognized in the very early stages by asking your doctor to perform a test called spirometry. A spirometry test measures the maximum speed, or flow, of air coming from your lungs when you are asked to blow out as fast as possible.
This is a very important test, especially for smokers, to identify the disease in the earliest stages. Early recognition of COPD can lead to interventions, which successfully slow the decline in lung function.
COPD clinicians in the center have a complete set of treatment options to offer, several of which were actually first investigated at UPMC.
In addition to all current treatment options, people with COPD who visit the center can participate in the newest clinical treatments for COPD through a disease research registry.
The Emphysema/COPD Research Center has participated in national clinical research trials that have confirmed new important treatment options for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including:
For some patients with COPD, medical therapy will not be enough and they may be evaluated for other types of treatment, including lung transplantation. The UPMC Lung Transplantation Program is nationally renowned. Our experts have performed more than 1,400 lung transplants since the program’s inception.
Our doctors work closely with members of the Lung Transplant Program to refer patients for evaluation, when the time is right.
As long as COPD remains a disease without a specific cure, our researchers will continue to explore new options for treatment of the disease.
While the list of research investigations is constantly updated, a sample of current studies includes:
Surgery at UPMC helped Robert overcome his COPD and emphysema and improve his quality of life.Read Robert's story.