What are possible complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?

Updated: Nov 13, 2020
  • Author: Paul Kleinschmidt, MD; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
  • Print

Some complications that must be anticipated in COPD treatment include the following:

  • Incidence of pneumothorax due to bleb formation is relatively high; consider pneumothorax in all patients with COPD who have increased shortness of breath.

  • In patients who require long-term steroid use, the possibility of adrenal crisis is very real; at a minimum, patients with steroid-dependent COPD should receive stress dosing in the event of an exacerbation or any other stressor.

  • Infection (common)

  • Cor pulmonale

  • Secondary polycythemia

  • Bullous lung disease

  • Acute or chronic respiratory failure

  • Pulmonary hypertension

  • Malnutrition

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!