COPD Program

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a group of conditions that blocks airflow and makes normal breathing difficult. 

COPD is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Two of the most common COPD conditions are chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

The cause of COPD is almost always smoking. Long-term exposure to irritants such as chemical fumes, secondhand smoke and air pollution can also be a factor. About one percent of cases is caused by a genetic disorder called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.

COPD affects each person differently. Many people wait until severe lung function decline before seeking the help of a professional. Getting diagnosed and treated for COPD in its early stages is will help you maintain a high quality of life.

Our groundbreaking pulmonary rehabilitation program at UC San Diego Health includes respiratory therapists and pulmonary specialists who are dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with chronic lung disease.

In addition to high-level care, our team is paving the way for the development of better COPD therapy and treatments through extensive clinical studies. We work closely with our lung transplant program for evaluation and placement on the transplant list.

Screening & Diagnosis

Our Pulmonary Function and Exercise Lab provides testing to assess your lung function. This helps us diagnose COPD and other lung diseases, determine your oxygen needs, and manage breathing problems.

Pulmonary exercise testing also helps us predict the course of your COPD.

Lung Cancer Screening

If you've smoked at least a pack a day for 20 years and have COPD, an annual chest computed tomography (CT) scan can lower your risk of death from lung cancer. These low-dose CT scans minimize radiation exposure. 

Call and schedule your screening today at 855-355-5864.

Want to Quit Smoking?

We can help.

Whether you're ready to quit or just thinking about it, learn more about smoking cessation or call 800-NO-BUTTS.

COPD and Sleep Apnea

When COPD and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) exist together, it is called overlap syndrome.

At UC San Diego Health, many patients who have COPD are also screened for OSA as the two conditions combined significantly increase your risk for cardiovascular disease and mortality.

The most common treatment for overlap syndrome is non-invasive positive pressure ventilation therapies (such as CPAP and BIPAP) and in some patients, oxygen therapy during sleep.

Airway Clinic

Our respiratory therapists and pulmonologists offer a weekly airway clinic at UC San Diego Health to help those living with obstructive lung disease.

The airway clinic includes:

  • Comprehensive trigger assessment
  • Smoking cessation strategies
  • Early referral to the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program
  • Intensive self-care
  • Inhaler education and technique
  • Peak flow education
  • Action plan development
  • Assessment testing