INTRODUCTION N.M. Siafakas Correspondence: N.M. Siafakas, Dept of Thoracic Medicine, University General Hospital, 71110 Heraklion, Crete, Greece. Fax: 30 2810542650 E-mail: The present, new edition of the European Respiratory Monograph on the "Management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease", introduces new developments in the area of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) since the first edition in 1998. Since 1998, two major international guidelines for the management of COPD have been published: the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) in 2001 and the guidelines of the American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society (ERS) Task Force in 2004. Even the definition of the disease has changed since 1998 and now incorporates aetiological factors (smoking), pathogenetic mechanisms (inflamma- tion), early staging (GOLD stage 0), and systemic consequences and optimistic views that the disease is preventable and treatable. Over the past 8 yrs, significant developments concerning the pathogenesis of the disease have emerged for example, inflammatory pathways, apoptosis, impaired remodelling etc. In addition, various cell types have been shown to play a key role in the pathogenesis, such as CD8z lymphocytes, dendritic cells, type II pneumocytes and epithelial cells. The genetic background of the disease has also been extensively investigated. Moreover, new significant modes of treatment have become available and have had to be incorporated into this second edition. An example of this is the new long-acting anticholinergics. Therefore, most of the original chapters have been completely rewritten, some have been updated and new chapters have been included. I am extremely grateful to all the authors who have contributed for their hard work and for supporting the efforts of the ERS in producing high-quality, comprehensive European Respiratory Monographs for its members. However, this Monograph is primarily designed for clinicians and fellows in training. I do hope that reading this European Respiratory Monograph "Management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease", a disease that still is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the world, will give the interested reader the appropriate data and as much pleasure as I had when editing it. Eur Respir Mon, 2006, 38, ix. Printed in UK -all rights reserved. Copyright ERS Journals Ltd 2006 European Respiratory Monograph ISSN 1025-448x. ix
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