Approximately 1.2 million people have a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the UK[8]. Although there are 115,000 new diagnoses per year, most people with COPD are not diagnosed until they are in their fifties or older and many more people may remain undiagnosed. The UK has the 12th highest recorded deaths from COPD in the world, with an age-standardised mortality rate of 210.7 deaths per million people between 2001 and 2010.

New evidence has emerged and practice has changed in a number of areas since 2010, when the last version of the guideline was published. This evidence and the changes in how care is delivered may have a significant impact on people with COPD, for example by increasing the focus on:

  • treating tobacco dependence

  • optimising inhaled therapy treatments

  • improving access to lung volume reduction procedures

  • predicting and preventing COPD exacerbations.

The costs of some inhaled therapies have also reduced, because they are now off‑patent and generic versions are available. However, the range and complexity of the inhaled therapies available (drugs and devices) has also increased.

[8] British Lung Foundation. COPD statistics [online; accessed 23 April 2018]

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)