A shortcut review was carried out to establish whether the degree of breathlessness in patients with an acute exacerbation of COPD is indicative of the severity of the exacerbation. Three hundred and forty-seven papers were found using the reported searches, of which five presented the best available evidence to answer the clinical question. The author, date and country of publication, patient group studied, study type, relevant outcomes, results and study weaknesses of these five papers are tabulated. It is concluded that increased shortness of breath is associated with a worse prognosis in patients with acute exacerbations of COPD. Dyspnoea assessment should be included in the triage process.
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