Have COPD? Are you at increased risk for respiratory compromise?

(BPT) – Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death in the United States. What many people don’t know is that COPD is a risk factor for a potentially deadly condition called respiratory compromise which can occur during hospitalization.

While relatively unknown, respiratory compromise can cause a patient’s breathing to deteriorate, leading to respiratory failure and death. In addition to causing a downward decline into respiratory failure, respiratory compromise is the second leading avoidable patient safety issue and is as common as cardiac complications following noncardiac surgery. This condition can be caused by a number of factors, including pre-existing diseases and conditions such as COPD, or receiving opioid painkillers or sedatives for a procedure.

Although respiratory compromise is a serious health concern, it is often preventable. By using patient monitoring technologies and appropriate therapies to continuously assess a patient’s respiratory status, healthcare professionals can help detect and treat patients earlier, which may help prevent further decline.

This past November marked National COPD Awareness Month, an annual observance aimed at elevating patient and physician recognition of COPD. The National Cancer Institute, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and the American Association for Respiratory Care are among the many organizations working to raise awareness about COPD.

“Individuals living with COPD must realize their increased risk for respiratory compromise, a condition, which, if not caught early, can be fatal,” said Phil Porte, Executive Director, Respiratory Compromise Institute. “Fortunately, many medical facilities already have the necessary tools to detect respiratory compromise early to allow for proper treatment. This is why it is important for those living with COPD to talk to their healthcare provider about their increased risk for respiratory compromise if they need to undergo a medical or surgical procedure, particularly those procedures that can worsen COPD symptoms.”

If you have COPD, you should familiarize yourself with your risk for respiratory compromise, as well as the other risk factors – such as advanced age, obesity and sleep apnea – which can increase your likelihood of suffering from this condition. To learn more about respiratory compromise, visit http://www.respiratorycompromise.org/.

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