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Portable ventilator technology: Relief for COPD?

October 27, 2015
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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Using a portable, non-invasive ventilator can help improve the respiratory health of residents with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and reduce trips to the hospital, according to research presented at this week's American College of Chest Physicians Annual Meeting in Montreal.

The study tracked participants for a year prior to using the wearable ventilators and then compared the number and type of healthcare services needed, including hospitalizations. Although the study involved a small sample—16 oxygen-dependent participants with moderate to very severe COPD—the results showed a significant reduction in emergency room visits, hospital days, hospital intensive care days and mechanical ventilations.

Participant data using two different evaluation methods—the COPD Assessment Test (CAT) and the modified Medical Research Council (mMRC) scores—improved significantly during the portable ventilator implementation period (p < 0.0001 and p = 0.0001, respectively), the release stated. The portable ventilator, which weighs only one pound, was developed by Breathe Technologies, Irvine, Calif.

“Patients with chronic respiratory insufficiency frequently suffer from exacerbations, resulting in increased physician office visits, time in the emergency room and hospital admissions,” said Neil MacIntyre, MD, FAARC, a leading pulmonologist affiliated with Respiratory Care Services at Duke University Medical Center, in a press release. “The data analyzed in this study further reinforce current clinical evidence that wearable ventilator technology can improve healthcare utilization measures across a wide spectrum of parameters, help patients with chronic respiratory disease better manage their conditions and have the potential to significantly decrease healthcare expenditures.”


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