Essay on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Nebulized Furosemide

Essay on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Nebulized Furosemide

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COPD is noted as being the fourth leading cause of mortality in the United States. Mortality is expected to increase among COPD patients despite advances in its management. As exacerbations and hospitalizations characterize a key driver of the cost and morbidity of COPD, significance should be placed on interventions aimed at delaying the advancement of disease, inhibiting exacerbations, and reducing the risk of co-morbidities. Treatment for COPD has been at of a standstill in recent years. Beta2 antagonists, corticosteroids, and theophylline have been at the helm. However, nebulized furosemide has pushed its way from the background into the forefront recently.
A major cause of disability and anxiety, dyspnea is the most prominent symptom of COPD and COPD exacerbations and is the reason most patients seek medical attention. The stimulation of slowly adapting stretch receptors (SARs) most likely decreases the feelings of dyspnea. It has been hypothesized that inhaled furosemide acts indirectly on sensory receptors to relieve dyspnea.
It is possible that the alleviation of dyspnea with inhaled furosemide could also be related to increased slow-adapting receptors (SAR) activity. Studies have shown that inhaled furosemide both sensitized SARs and desensitized rapid-adapting receptors (RARs). The relief of dyspnea with inhaled furosemide could be partially related to the reduced activity of RARs, which are pulmonary irritant receptors. Because patients with severe COPD cannot sustain bronchodilation, increasing blood flow to poorly ventilated lung areas causes a ventilation-perfusion mismatch. Nebulized furosemide reverses the pathological process by improving ventilation.
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