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Lung Flute Improves COPD and Chronic Bronchitis Symptoms

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 08 Oct 2014
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A new study reports that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) report improved symptoms and health status when using a hand-held, flute shaped respiratory device.

Developed by researchers at the University of Buffalo (NY, USA), The Lung Flute promotes bronchial hygiene therapy (BHT), which can be used for a variety for congestive conditions, such as COPD, bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, emphysema, or other chronic respiratory ailments. When a patient exhales through the mouthpiece of the Lung Flute, a low-frequency (14–18 Hz range) acoustic wave is generated, which travels backwards into the lower airways and lung parenchyma, producing a phase change in the viscous liquid secretions, thus increasing mucociliary clearance.

For the study, the researchers performed a 26 week randomized, nonintervention controlled, single center, open label trial in 69 patients with COPD and Chronic Bronchitis. The primary endpoint was change in respiratory symptoms measured with the Chronic COPD Questionnaire (CCQ). Secondary endpoints included health status; Body Mass Index (BMI), airflow obstruction, dyspnea, and exercise capacity (BODE) index score; and exacerbation frequency.

The results showed that while the control patients did not demonstrate any significant changes in the primary endpoint, a significant improvement in the symptom domain was seen with the Lung Flute; health status improvement was also only seen with the Lung Flute. The BODE score increased in the control group, but remained stable in the Lung Flute arm. There was a trend for less exacerbation in the Lung Flute group. Adverse effects were minor, with only one patient discontinuing treatment because of lack of efficacy. The study was published on September 23, 2014, in Clinical and Translational Medicine.

“This study confirms that the Lung Flute improves symptoms and health status in COPD patients, decreasing the impact of the disease on patients and improving their quality of life,” said lead author Prof. Sanjay Sethi, MD, chief of the division of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine. “The BODE index provides a more comprehensive assessment of COPD patients. As the disease worsens, the BODE index goes up as it did in the control group. But for patients using the Lung Flute, the BODE index stayed flat.”

Each disposable Lung Flute for home use is distributed with a six-month supply of reeds, a total of 14 reeds. The device is distributed by Medical Acoustics (Clarence, NY, USA), which has partnered with the University of Buffalo on research and development of the Lung Flute.

Related Links:

University of Buffalo
Medical Acoustics

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