Guidelines for the Management of COPD
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, sometimes also known as chronic bronchitis is an important cause of ill health and death in Malta. This is especially so among men, however currently available information about smoking patterns suggests that this disease will be more common principally because of the increasing number of women smokers.
The disease is not often diagnosed until it is quite advanced and when it would have already damaged the health and quality of life of patients. With this in mind it was decided to produce clinical practice guidelines to increase awareness of COPD among health professionals and to help reduce morbidity and mortality from this condition among the Maltese community.
A set of evidence-based guidelines were drafted by Professor Joseph Cacciottolo and Dr Maria Cordina of the University of Malta, as part of the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) conducted in collaboration with the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). The guidelines were discussed with a panel of 23 Maltese experts and professional user groups in the health field. This process ensured that in addition to being evidence-based, these guidelines represented consensus among a core group of health-care professionals who are actively involved in clinical practice in Malta. The document was subsequently also reviewed by two leading international experts in the field of respiratory medicine.
The academic sponsors of the guidelines are the University of Malta, the Department of Medicine at St Lukes Hospital, the Malta College of Family Doctors and the Malta College of Pharmacy Practice.
The guidelines will be officially launched next week, both in electronic format freely accessible on the Internet, and in a printed version.