What Is Stage IV COPD?

  • Medical Author:
    George Schiffman, MD, FCCP

    Dr. Schiffman received his B.S. degree with High Honors in biology from Hobart College in 1976. He then moved to Chicago where he studied biochemistry at the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle. He attended Rush Medical College where he received his M.D. degree in 1982 and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He completed his Internal Medicine internship and residency at the University of California, Irvine.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Understanding COPD

Ask the experts

My husband has been diagnosed with Stage IV COPD, what does Stage IV indicate?

Doctor's response

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a progressive condition that obstructs air flow through the airways in and out of the lungs, has been categorized by the GOLD (Global Obstructive Lung Disease initiative) into four groups, or stages, according to the severity of the condition Stage 0, Stage I, Stage II, and Stage III.

These categories are based on an individual's lung function. In this system Stage III corresponds to severe COPD, the most advanced disease. This group includes individuals with severe airflow limitation. Another proposed staging system for COPD includes a Stage IV, which represents very severe COPD. People in this group often have evidence of respiratory failure (either low blood oxygen or high carbon dioxide levels) or clinical signs of right heart failure (such as leg swelling), that characteristically accompany respiratory failure. At this stage, quality of life is appreciably impaired. Exacerbations of the condition may occur three to four times per year and may be life-threatening.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care REFERENCE:

"Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: Prognostic factors and comorbid conditions"

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COPD Lung Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

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Reviewed on 6/23/2017

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