COPD has had many names, among which we find: Chronic Obstructive Airways Disease, (COAD); Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, (COLD); Chronic Airflow Limitation, (CAL or CAFL) and Chronic Airflow Obstruction. (COPD). Currently, it comprises two related diseases, chronic bronchitis and emphysema, one rarely occurring without a degree of the other. According to the American Thoracic Society and the European Respiratory Society, COPD is a disorder that is characterized by reduced maximal expiratory flow and slow forced emptying of the lungs. This limitation in airflow is only minimally reversible with bronchodilators.
Actualmente la American Thoracic Society (ATS) define la EPOC (enfermedad pulmonar obstructiva crónica) como un proceso que afecta progresivamente la obstrucción crónica de las vías aéreas debido a bronquitis crónica, enfisema o ambas.