Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Center

What is COPD?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a term for a group of lung diseases that limit airflow in the lungs, causing cough, shortness of breath and other breathing problems. It is most often caused by long-term exposure to cigarette smoke, and less commonly from other gases and particulate matter. The two most common conditions of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema:

§ Chronic Bronchitis: the walls of the airways become thickened and inflamed, leading to chronic cough and excess mucus production

§ Emphysema: the wall between air sacs are destroyed, trapping air causing the lungs to become overly inflated.

Why Choose Montefiore COPD Center?

Take Control and Exhale!

At Montefiore, our goal is to help patients breathe easier and enjoy a higher quality of life. Our specialists offer our patients a comprehensive approach to managing COPD – a disease that can affect more than just the lungs.

Inhalers and Medications

In the era of personalized medicine, our specialists can tailor which inhalers best manage our patients individual COPD phenotype. We also aim to provide education for proper inhaler technique, and supplement nebulizer machines or spacers for optimal medication delivery. For patients with more severe COPD, we also offer long-term antibiotics and phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors – a new medication that reduce airway inflammation and relax the airways.

Tobacco Use Counseling

In addition to proper inhalers for your COPD, we offer tobacco use counseling with the goal of smoking cessation. As one of the few interventions that have shown to increase length of life, we understand the importance and challenges of giving up smoking, and offer nicotine replacement and coaching to accomplish this important goal.

Management of Coexisting Diseases

Our specialists understand COPD often coexists with heart disease, sleep apnea, acid reflux, anxiety and other medical conditions that can complicate the management of your lung disease. At our COPD Center, we aim to identify these conditions if they exist, and make appropriate referrals to subspecialty centers at the Montefiore Medical Center to work together to provide comprehensive care.

Lung Cancer Screening Program

Our center also runs a lung cancer-screening program for patients with long smoking histories. Using low-dose CT scans, our program can help identify nodules that may represent early cancers. These nodules can be safely biopsied with advanced procedures including radial and navigational bronchoscopy offered by specialists at the Montefiore Interventional Pulmonary Service.

Advanced Bronchoscopic Lung Volume Reduction Therapy

In patients with more advanced COPD, we provide oxygen therapy and evaluation for home nocturnal non-invasive positive pressure ventilation, which may help prevent the need to hospitalization and even improve length of life. Working with the Montefiore Interventional Pulmonary Service, our center offers referrals for bronchoscopic lung volume reduction, a procedure where valves are inserted into the airways and allow overinflated areas of the lung to decompress. This procedure has been shown to improve our patient’s ability to exercise.

Lung Transplant Referral

In our patients with more severe COPD for whom no other treatment options exist, our center screens and makes referrals to the Montefiore Advanced Lung Disease Program for lung transplant evaluation. The process involves removing the damaged lung and replacing it with a healthy lung from a deceased donor. Lung transplant can significantly improve lung function and quality of life, though involves risks including infection and organ rejection.

Inpatient Pulmonary Consult Service

If your symptoms worsen to the point where you need hospital admission for a COPD exacerbation, our center includes pulmonary specialists that provide expert care for your COPD while you are in the hospital. We work closely with your inpatient medicine team to guide treatment, and importantly provide comprehensive transition-of-care during your discharge from the hospital. Our center will ensure you will be seen shortly after hospital discharge to ensure you remain on the path to recovery following a COPD exacerbation.


Sarah Sungurlu

Sarah Sungurlu, DO

Division of Pulmonary Medicine

Heyi Li

Heyi Li, MD

Division of Pulmonary Medicine

The COPD team can be reached at the following locations for appointments and consultations:

Montefiore Hutchinson Campus
1250 Waters Place, 12th Floor
Bronx, NY 10461

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