Lung Flute Helps COPD Patients Breathe Easier: Study

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Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) report improved symptoms and health status when they make use of a hand-held respiratory device known as the Lung Flute?, according to a new study by the University at Buffalo. Usually brought on by smoking, COPD, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, may be the third leading reason for death in america.

The Lung Flute, made by Medical Acoustics, (Buffalo), uses soundwaves to interrupt up mucus within the lungs. The device allows patients to clear lung mucus by simply blowing in to the hand-held respiratory device, which creates a low frequency acoustic wave.

Published on Sept. 23 in Clinical and Translational Medicine, the 26-week study demonstrates that patients while using Lung Flute experience less difficulty breathing and fewer coughing and sputum production than a control group, which saw no change in COPD symptoms.

“This study confirms that the Lung Flute improves symptoms and health status in COPD patients, reducing the impact of the disease on patients and improving their standard of living,” says Sanjay Sethi, MD, principal author of the study and professor and chief, division of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine in the Department of drugs, UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

The system is approved by the Fda (FDA) to treat COPD along with other lung diseases characterized by retained secretions and congestion. It’s also approved by FDA to obtain deep lung sputum samples for “laboratory analysis and pathologic examination.”

Colleagues of Sethi’s in the UB school of medicine are now staring at the Lung Flute for use in improving symptoms in asthma. The device may also be investigated for diagnostic use in tuberculosis and lung cancer.

The study followed 69 patients with COPD for 6 months; it was conducted in the Veterans Affairs Western Ny Healthcare System (Buffalo VA) by researchers at the UB school of medicine.

“This study confirms and extends the results of a previous, 8-week study of 40 patients that was conducted in 2010 to acquire FDA approval for that Lung Flute,” says Sethi, whose clinical practice reaches the Buffalo VA.

He has led a number of clinical trials demonstrating the security and efficacy of the Lung Flute, including those that played a vital role within the FDA’s approval from the device for diagnostic and therapeutic uses.

Improvement in the present study was demonstrated by responses reported by patients on the Chronic COPD Questionnaire, which assesses alterations in COPD symptoms and the St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire, which measures quality of life. On both questionnaires, patients using the Lung Flute reported significant improvements.

In addition, the Body-Mass Index, Airflow Obstruction, Dyspnea and Exercise Capacity (BODE) score was measured repeatedly within the study. “The BODE index provides a more comprehensive assessment of COPD patients,” explains Sethi. “As the condition worsens, the BODE index goes up because it did in the control group. But for patients while using Lung Flute, the BODE index stayed flat.”

Sethi adds that the study points to a potential reduction in exacerbations, flare-ups of respiratory symptoms, as a result of while using Lung Flute. Researchers are planning longer-term studies which will focus specifically on how the device affects exacerbations, a key part of why is COPD patients sicker and results in healthcare utilization.

Sethi notes that although similar devices have been developed for cystic fibrosis, the Lung Flute is the just one that has undergone extensive testing especially for COPD patients. In a previous study comparing a device produced for cystic fibrosis using the Lung Flute, the Lung Flute was superior for COPD patients.

“All therapeutic studies on using the Lung Flute for COPD have been done within Buffalo,” says Sethi. “We possess the biggest database by far on while using device in COPD. The Lung Flute is the just one that’s been tested and been clearly shown to benefit COPD patients.”

The research is the result of a partnership between UB and Medical Acoustics.

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