EARLY versus MILD Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Nikolaos M. Siafakas, Nikoleta Bizymi, Alexander Mathioudakis, Alexandru Corlateanu

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is very a common, with great morbidity and mortality, disease.

Since the beginning of the disease cannot be detected with precision and by using only FEV1 to monitor the evolution of the disease, the Natural History of COPD is rather obscure and sometimes controvercial.

Therefore, the terms EARLY COPD and MILD COPD have been used indistinguishably in the medical literature.

In this review we discuss the two terms trying to clarify some of the definition issues, starting with a synopsis of the Naturel History of the disease.

We recommend to use the term EARLY COPD for the pre-clinical stage of the disease (stage 0) and the term MILD COPD when the diagnosis is confirmed by spirometry and FEV1 is above 80% predicted. However, COPD is a complex disease and spirometric evaluation alone (MILD COPD, stage I), cannot fully describe the clinical status of the patient.

We conclude that biomarkers to detect the starting point and been able to follow the natural history of the disease more accurately, beyond FEV, are urgently needed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRespiratory Medicine
Early online date5 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Beginning of COPD
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • Airflow limitation
  • Pre-clinical
  • Sub-clinical
  • Clinical
  • Natural history


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