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Wednesday, May 22, 2013
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
Prognosis with both COPD and CHF
My father is 68 years old and has been battling COPD for 8 - 10 years with it becoming severe in the last 2-3 years. He has also been diagnosed with severe CHF. WE (our family) did not realize the severity of the heart and want to know the probable prognosis. How long would the average person in this condition be able to survive?
COPD is a chronic condition with multiple factors that impact survival. The addition of congestive heart failure as a diagnosis adds additional factors.
While a specific prognosis for your father cannot be made here, there are important questions to ask:
- How severe is your father's COPD based on his pulmonary function tests (what is his forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1])?
- Does your father have higher than normal carbon dioxide levels?
- Is your father using oxygen?
- How short of breath is your father--at rest? with mild activity? with higher levels of activity?
- Can your father walk very far or is he limited to a chair or bed?
- Has your father ever participated in pulmonary rehabilitation?
- How is your father's weight? Is he very thin?
The severity of COPD, presence of high carbon dioxide levels, severe activity limitations and weight loss are known to negatively impact survival. Oxygen therapy has been shown to improve survival if a patient has low oxygen levels. Pulmonary rehabilitation, while not shown to improve survival overall, does improve activity tolerance.
Has your father been seen by a pulmonologist (a physician who specializes in pulmonary diseases)? If not, this type of specialist can comprehensively evaluate your father's condition and ensure that he is being treated in the best manner. With the information needs listed above, a pulmonologist could provide more specific answers to your questions.
Gerene S Bauldoff, RN, PhD, FCCP, FAACVPR, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University