GOLD Report 2023: Important updates and revisions


The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) Report is revised annually and is used widely throughout the world as a tool for implementing effective management.

Among the updates in the 2023 GOLD Report, the section on diagnostic criteria added a proposed new category “PRISm,” denoting “preserved ratio impaired spirometry,” encompassing individuals who present with structural lung lesions (for example, emphysema) and/or other physiological abnormalities such as low-normal forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), gas trapping, hyperinflation, reduced lung diffusing capacity and/or rapid FEV1 decline, but without airflow obstruction (FEV1/FEV ≥ 0.7 post bronchodilation). Some of these “pre-COPD” (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) individuals, who have a normal ratio but abnormal spirometry are at risk over time of developing airflow obstruction. The best treatment for them, beyond smoking cessation, needs to be determined through research, the report states.

Clinical updates

The GOLD 2023 Report also offers proposed clinical guidance, in the absence of high-quality clinical trial evidence, on initial pharmacologic management of COPD. The proposal is based on individual assessment of symptoms and exacerbation risk following use of the ABE Assessment Tool, a revised version of the ABCD Assessment Tool that recognizes the clinical relevance of exacerbations independent of symptom level.

These updates to information and figures pertaining to initial pharmacological treatment and follow-up pharmacological treatment revise the positioning of LABA (long-acting beta2 agonists) plus LAMA (long-acting muscarinic agonists) and LABA/ICS (inhaled corticosteroids). Among GOLD group A patients with 0 or 1 moderate exacerbations that do not lead to hospital admission, a bronchodilator is recommended.

The recommendation for group B patients is LABA/LAMA with the caveat that single inhaler therapy may be more convenient and effective than multiple inhalers. For group E patients with two or more moderate exacerbations or one or more leading to hospitalization, LABA/LAMA is recommended (with the same inhaler therapy caveat). With blood eosinophil levels at 300 or higher, LABA/LAMA/ICS may be considered.

Commenting on the combination recommendations in a press release, Antonio Anzueto, MD, professor of medicine, pulmonary critical care, University of Texas Health, San Antonio, stated: “From a physician’s perspective, we are always grateful to receive well-vetted and informed recommendations on how we can best utilize available treatment options to provide the most benefit to our patients. The new 2023 GOLD recommendations represent a meaningful change for the treatment of COPD by prioritizing the utilization of a fixed LAMA/LABA combination.”

More interventions

In a section on therapeutic interventions to reduce COPD mortality, the report lists studies showing mortality benefits for fixed-dose inhaled triple combinations (LABA + LAMA + ICS) versus dual inhaled long-acting bronchodilations, and for smoking cessation and pulmonary rehabilitation.

Also new is a strong emphasis on inhaler choice, education, and technique training with assessment of inhaler technique and adherence urged as a prerequisite to judging whether current therapy as insufficient. The report summarizes principles guiding inhaler type selection.

The report also added a section on chronic bronchitis, defining it as a common but variable condition in COPD patients with cough and expectorated sputum on a regular basis over a defined period in the absence of other conditions plausibly causing symptoms.

The fact that chronic bronchitis is sometimes found in never-smokers suggests the involvement of other factors such as exposure to inhaled dusts, biomass fuels, chemical fumes, or domestic heating and cooking fuels, according to the report. Gastroesophageal reflux may also be associated with chronic bronchitis.

The report discusses various taxonomic terms for different types of COPD, such as COPD-G for genetically determined COPD, COPD-D for those with abnormal lung development, and COPD-C for COPD associated with cigarette smoking, etc.


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