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Figure 1: COPD population, the subsequent concept of phenotypes and the real world model of treatable characteristics

Current practice is illustrated in figure A, the idealistic separation of COPD types per phenotype in B, then the real life situation of patients with multiple features of the disease in C. However, recognition of the predominant characteristics within an individual patient using phenotypes is a useful tool in better understanding their disease and tailoring treatment to it.

Source  Reproduced with permission from http://thorax.bmj.com/content/69/9/857