COPD: A progressive, nonreversible disruption of airflow caused by chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and cigarette smoking. Unlike asthma, in which obstruction exists only during periods of crisis, the obstruction of COPD is permanent and irreversible.
Signs and Symptoms: SOB, coughing, diminished breath sounds, barrel chest, hypoxia, loss of appetite, fatigue
Diagnostics: ABGs, labs, chest x-ray, PFT
Drug Therapy: Similar to asthma treatment, bronchodilators and corticosteroids are administered. O2 therapy may be needed according to the severity.
Nursing Care: Treatment includes medication therapy and patient education, including teaching about smoking cessation. Chest physiotherapy may be needed to facilitate drainage of the lungs. These patients are often fatigued because of the lack of O2, so conservation of energy is needed through nutrition and scheduled periods of rest. Patient may be placed on continuous pulse oximetry to monitor O2 levels.