Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common problem in primary care. COPD is diagnosed with spirometry only in clinically stable patients with a postbronchodilator forced expiratory volume in one second/forced vital capacity ratio of less than 0.70. All patients with COPD who smoke should be counseled about smoking cessation. Influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations are recommended for all patients with COPD. The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease assigns patients with COPD into four groups based on the degree of airflow restriction, symptom score, and number of exacerbations in one year. Pulmonary rehabilitation is recommended for patients in groups B, C, and D. Those in group A should receive a short-acting anticholinergic or short-acting beta2 agonist for mild intermittent symptoms. For patients in group B, long-acting anticholinergics or long-acting beta2 agonists should be added. Patients in group C or D are at high risk of exacerbations and should receive a long-acting anticholinergic or a combination of an inhaled corticosteroid and a long-acting beta2 agonist. For patients whose symptoms are not controlled with one of these regimens, triple therapy with an inhaled corticosteroid, long-acting beta2 agonist, and anticholinergic should be considered. Prophylactic antibiotics and oral corticosteroids are not recommended for prevention of COPD exacerbations. Continuous oxygen therapy improves mortality rates in patients with severe hypoxemia and COPD. Lung volume reduction surgery can improve survival rates in patients with severe, upper lobe-predominant COPD with heterogeneous emphysema distribution.

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