Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a preventable condition affecting more than 230 million people globally, and is expected to become the world's third largest cause of mortality by 2030. Despite this fact, it is thought to be widely underdiagnosed and underreported across the African continent. This presents a challenge to emergency medicine (EM) providers in the region, who are faced with treating large numbers of patients presenting with exacerbation of previously undiagnosed COPD. This is complicated by other factors, including lack of public awareness, high prevalence of other chronic respiratory illnesses, and difficulties in access to healthcare. The purpose of this paper is to outline the current state of research and international guidelines surrounding the management of acute exacerbation of COPD in the emergency centre. Strict adherence to international guidelines for management of acute exacerbation of COPD may be difficult for many African providers given factors affecting diagnosis, treatment, and access to care for many Africans suffering from COPD. Research looking into the role of the African EM practitioner in providing more cost-effective means of diagnosis and treatment of COPD is limited.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine