Fast Five Quiz: Differential Diagnosis of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Zab Mosenifar, MD


February 04, 2022

Although patients with COPD typically present with productive cough, the sputum is mucoid, and macrophages are the predominant cells. During an exacerbation, mucus can become purulent because of the presence of neutrophils.

Most commonly, crackles at the base of the lungs, rhonchi, wheezing, and inspiratory squeaks may be heard upon auscultation in patients with bronchiectasis. This can occur in up to 73% of patients.

Although it is an inconsistent finding and only presents in 2%-3% of patients, digital clubbing is seen in patients with moderate to severe bronchiectasis.

The classic clinical manifestation of bronchiectasis is cough with daily mucopurulent sputum production that often lasts for years. Blood-streaked sputum may be present from years of airway damage associated with acute infection.

Learn more about the presentation of COPD.


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