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WELCOME to MAX Medicine COPD Tutorial

Case Based Approach to the Diagnosis and Management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease


A Selective by Jenna Koliani MSIV

Advisor Ellen O. Nestler, MD

This online case based tutorial was developed as a learning tool to teach third year medical students the evidence based clinical guidelines to diagnosis and subsequently manage COPD in the outpatient setting.

Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) has become integrated into both medical school and graduate medical education curricula. Every day, physicians must sift through medical literature to interpret evidenced based practice guidelines in order to apply them to their practice.

The COPD literature contains a number of guidelines which easily overwhelm medical students.  The prevalence of COPD in the U.S. is approximately 16 million and the number is expected to rise as the population ages.  Additionally, COPD accounts for 110,000 deaths per year, making it the fourth leading cause of death after heart disease, cancer, and stroke.  Annually, COPD causes greater than 16 million office visits, 500,000 hospitalizations, and $18 billion in direct healthcare costs.

It is important to note that the tutorial was created using Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) guidelines. However, many other guidelines exist including American College of Physicians, American Thoracic Society, and American College of Chest Physicians. When many recommendations exist, one should try to choose the guideline that is most evidence based and apply its recommendations to patients.

This online tutorial was created as a part of a fourth year selective project. The goals of the tutorial are to teach third year medical students to:

  • List symptoms and key risk factors that increase the probability of a COPD diagnosis
  • Diagnosis COPD
  • Treat stable COPD in the outpatient setting
  • Treat a COPD exacerbation in the outpatient setting

How to use the tutorial:

  • The tabs on the HORIZONTAL bar will help you to navigate through the different cases.
    • The tabs are titled to reflect the objective of the case...i.e. the diagnosis tab will have a case to teach how to diagnosis COPD.
  • Once you are within a case, the VERTICAL bars on the left side of the screen will take you through the case.
    • It is best to go through these tabs sequentially from top to bottom.
  • The last horizontal tab entitled Guidelines is a list of articles from which this tutorial was developed.
  • Within each case you will find text in RED which highlights important information.
  • Underlined text represents a hyperlink to a guideline.