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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

How many stages of emphysema are there?

12/03/2008

Question:

How does a person know what stage they are in? My husband is on oxygen(6liters)24/7, numerous medications, and is starting to get short of breath just talking. His doctor has not said anything about stages. We just don`t know what to expect next. Also, what is liquid oxygen?

Answer:

Thank you for visiting NetWellness and for your questions. Stages of COPD are generally defined using the GOLD criteria (Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease) by a person's FEV1.

The FEV1 is determined from a breathing test. Generally, when people require oxygen they are classified as Stage 4, which includes chronic respiratory failure. People who have low oxygen levels in the blood and need to wear oxygen usually fall into the category of chronic respiratory failure. You can find more information about the stages of COPD at http://www.goldcopd.com/.

With regard to oxygen, three types of systems provide home oxygen including

These are different holding devices that provide inhaled oxygen. Liquid oxygen is stored at very low temperatures and in the liquid form allows for more oxygen to be stored compared with the gas form. Liquid oxygen turns into gas oxygen as it is delivered out of the device. These systems can allow for small portable tanks to be worn over the shoulder.

I would suggest that you talk with your doctor about your questions and consider asking about pulmonary rehabilitation and about seeing a pulmonary specialist.

For more information:

Go to the COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Michael E Ezzie, MD Michael E Ezzie, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University