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What Are the Four Stages of COPD?

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A friend of mine has just been diagnosed with COPD and I’m trying to learn more about the disease. What is the staging system for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease?

Doctor’s Response

The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) Program began in 1998 with revisions in 2001, 2006, 2010, and most recently, 2014. This worldwide group has attempted to standardize the nomenclature and treatment recommendations for COPD. Their staging system is as follows; all patients have an FEV1/FVC ratio of <70%

  • Stage I is FEV1 of equal or more than 80% of the predicted value.
  • Stage II is FEV1 of 50% to 79% of the predicted value.
  • Stage III is FEV1 of less than 30% to 49% of the predicted value.
  • Stage IV is FEV1 <30% of predicted value or FEV1 <50% of predicted value plus respiratory failure, sometimes termed "end stage" COPD.

For more information, read our full medical article on COPD.

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