Hey everyone,

I'm getting a patient tomorrow that has COPD. I have to write up the pathophysiology before I go to clinical tomorrow. I asked a nurse about this and she said that it was to include signs and symptoms. Now I'm confused because that is another whole section on my data tool! Can someone tell me what all the pathophys. should include?? Thank you x a million!!

classicdame, MSN, EdD

2 Articles; 7,255 Posts

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

Patho has to do with the name of the disease/condition, what the causes might be and what systems it affects. Of course COPD affects the lungs, but what effect can it have on other systems? The idea is for you to understand enough about the condition to be looking for possible changes in condition. For instance, COPD does affect the heart. What symptoms would you be looking for to determine if the condition has worsened or improved for the cardiac system?

Daytonite, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 14,603 Posts

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt. Has 40 years experience.

quite simply, pathophysiology is how the normal anatomy and physiology have been altered by the disease process. the alterations produce specific signs and symptoms.

you can find the pathophysiology of copd in the merck manual ( and on family practice notebook ( by using the search box on each site. fyi. . .there are several types of copd (emphysema, chronic bronchitis) and you may need to search for those diseases to find information.


31 Posts

Thank you so, so much!

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