November 21, 2017

Medical Journal of Australia publishes updated summary of Australian and New Zealand COPD-X Guidelines

The Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) recently published a summary of the internationally recognised COPD-X Guidelines to highlight the latest key clinical recommendations in the diagnosis and management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Key evidence-based advances and recommendations on the management of COPD are updated quarterly in The COPD-X Plan: Australian and New Zealand guidelines for the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, published by Lung Foundation Australia in conjunction with the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ).

Lung Foundation Australia CEO Heather Allan said the COPD-X Guidelines were a vital tool to assist health professionals in keeping abreast of the latest medicines and treatment options for patients with COPD.

“Over the last few years we have seen many changes and new therapies for COPD which highlights the need for health professionals to be across the evidence to ensure effective management of their patients,” Ms Allan said.

The full COPD-X Guidelines are summarised under the headings C, O, P, D and X which include:

  • C: Case finding and confirm diagnosis
  • O: Optimise function
  • P: Prevent deterioration
  • D: Develop a plan of care
  • X: Manage eXacerbations

The MJA guideline summary also covers the guidelines under the same format, below is a summary of the main recommendations:

  • Spirometry detects persistent airflow limitation (post-bronchodilator FEV1/FVC < 0.7) and must be used to confirm the diagnosis.
  • Non-pharmacological and pharmacological therapies should be considered as they optimise function (ie, improve symptoms and quality of life) and prevent deterioration (ie, prevent exacerbations and reduce decline).
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation and regular exercise are highly beneficial and should be provided to all symptomatic COPD patients.
  • Short and long-acting inhaled bronchodilators and, in more severe disease, anti-inflammatory agents (inhaled corticosteroids) should be considered in a stepwise approach.
  • Given the wide range of inhaler devices available, inhaler technique and adherence should be checked regularly.
  • Smoking cessation is essential, and influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations reduce the risk of exacerbations.
  • A plan of care should be developed with the multidisciplinary team. COPD action plans reduce hospitalisations and are recommended as part of COPD self-management.
  • Exacerbations should be managed promptly with bronchodilators, corticosteroids and antibiotics as appropriate to prevent hospital admission and delay COPD progression.
  • Comorbidities of COPD require identification and appropriate management.
  • Supportive, palliative and end-of-life care are beneficial for patients with advanced disease.
  • Education of patients, carers and clinicians, and a strong partnership between primary and tertiary care, facilitate evidence-based management of COPD.

For the full summary of the guidelines, visit:

To keep up-to-date, register to receive alerts on updates to the full COPD-X Guidelines at: