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The COPD app will help to alleviate exacerbations



A recent feasibility study has shown that an app for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that promotes self-managed treatment can help minimize exacerbations.

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Image credit: Kanawa_Studio/Getty Images

New research has found that the use of a self-management app can help people with COPD.

The feasibility report, which appears in the npj Digital Medicine journal, lays the basis for future research. The next steps will be to validate the initial findings and gain a deeper understanding of the processes behind the results that are promising.


COPD identifies a variety of disorders, which include emphysema and chronic bronchitis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In these cases, the airways become blocked, resulting in trouble breathing for the person.

Currently 15.7 million individuals in the United States have been diagnosed with COPD, equating to approximately 6.4% of the population.

Smoking is a primary cause of COPD, but research has also linked the disease, as well as genetic factors, to respiratory infections and exposure to air pollutants.

COPD can have a major negative impact on the life of a person. It may cause problems getting about including ascending stairs, and may hinder the ability of an individual to work and socialize. COPD has also been related by experts to mental health conditions, including depression.

The high rate of readmission following care in the hospital is one of the obstacles for health providers dealing with individuals with COPD.

The authors of the present study state that when they experience a “acute crisis”, for example, a sudden worsening of their symptoms, people with COPD usually receive care in the hospital. The hospital usually discharges the person following the resolution of the acute crisis.

This can however, leave little time for healthcare practitioners to help the client and in the first place, resolve the underlying causes that triggered the acute crisis.

Research has shown that providing individuals with the means to self-manage their COPD while at home will decrease their hospital readmission rate. It can however be beyond the resources available to many publicly supported hospitals to provide this service.

As a result, the authors of the present study wanted to see if this help could be provided by a COPD self-management app.

Feasibility study

The authors performed a feasibility analysis to start to discuss this. They approached 124 people who were admitted to hospital due to COPD between June and December 2015 at a National Health Service (NHS) site in the United Kingdom.

Of these individuals, 41 agreed to take part in the research. Each participant was allocated by the researchers randomly to one of two groups. Standard written self-management advice was given to those in the first group, while the other group had access to the myCOPD app.

The team monitored both groups for 3 months.

In order to help people control their COPD, the myCOPD app provides educational resources and advice, including a 6-week pulmonary recovery program, videos showing good inhaler strategies, and environmental pollution and weather warnings. It also helps healthcare professionals to remotely monitor the health of an individual.

Fewer exacerbations, better inhaler technique

The researchers found that COPD exacerbations were about half as frequent in the group who gained access to the myCOPD app than in the group seeking care as normal. Instead of 34 for the control group, they registered 18 exacerbations for the myCOPD group.

Compared to the control group, myCOPD patients have saw substantial gains in the inhaler procedure, having an 80 percent reduction in incorrect use compared to a 28 percent drop in the control group.

Although these findings are promising, it is necessary to remember that this was a limited study of feasibility.

In addition, the analysis did not specify what might drive the positive outcomes and how relevant they could be to other COPD individuals.

The authors note, for example, that of the 124 individuals they invited to take part in the research, 66 declined without giving any explanation.

If a large number of these individuals were put off by the use of digital technology, if the software was made compulsory for all COPD patients, whether they were comfortable using digital technology or not the results would not be as promising.

Nevertheless the study makes it clear that for future studies, a self-management app might be a worthwhile subject.

“The transition to digital healthcare has been taking place for some time, but has intensified since the outbreak of COVID-19,” states Prof. Tom Wilkinson of the University of Southampton, U.K., who created the software and led the trial.

“Patients with conditions such as COPD can be particularly vulnerable now, so it is important that we have evidence of the effectiveness of these technologies.”

– Prof. Tom Wilkinson

Prof. Wilkinson concludes, “Hopefully, the success of this will lead to further use and development of similar products that allow patients to treat other conditions and further enhance their well-being and reduce the NHS burden.”


What is panlobular emphysema (PLE)?



The condition panlobular emphysema (PLE) damages the lungs. The medical term for damage to the air sacs within the lungs is emphysema. Chronic bronchitis is one of two illnesses that fall under the umbrella of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Breathing problems, coughing, and wheezing are some of the respiratory symptoms that PLE can cause. Although there is no cure for PLE, there are therapies that can help decrease the condition’s growth and mitigate its symptoms.

This page explains what PLE is, as well as the symptoms, causes, therapy, and outlook. It also covers how PLE varies from another type of emphysema known as centrilobular emphysema, as well as the association between PLE and COPD (CE).

What is it?

Emphysema with PLE is a form of emphysema. Emphysema is a lung condition characterized by destruction to the microscopic air sacs, or alveoli. The exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place in these air sacs.

The alveolar walls become damaged and rupture in emphysema, resulting in larger air gaps that are less efficient at exchanging gases. This can cause breathing problems.

The entire secondary pulmonary lobule, which is a cluster of air sacs, might be affected by PLE. Lower regions of the lungs, known as lobes, may be more seriously affected.

Unlike certain other types of emphysema, PLE does not affect only one area of the lungs. PLE, on the other hand, affects alveoli throughout the lungs.


The outlook for people with PLE will differ depending on a number of circumstances, including:

  • whether or not the person experiences complications as a result of PLE
  • how the condition responds to medication
  • the person’s overall health

Some potential PLE problems, according to a 2021 article, include:


PLE can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AAT): This is a rare inherited disorder that may cause lung disease. Since exposure to toxic gases may worsen AAT deficiency, the link between AAT deficiency and PLE may not be a causal one.
  • Aging: Normal, age-related changes to the lungs may result in PLE.
  • Ritalin lung: This is the medical term for lung changes associated with injecting talc-containing methylphenidate, such as Ritalin.
  • Obliterative bronchiolitis: This is a condition in which the smallest airways of the lungs become obstructed due to inflammation.
  • Swyer-James syndrome: This is a lung condition in which a lung or part of a lung does not grow correctly following obliterative bronchiolitis.

Connections to COPD

COPD is a term that encompasses both emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Emphysema is characterized by the deterioration of the alveoli in the lungs, whereas chronic bronchitis is characterized by the inflammation of the airways.

COPD is defined as the progressive loss of lung tissue and increased airflow limitation, according to a 2021 article.


The signs and symptoms of emphysema might take years to manifest, according to the American Lung Association. When they start to happen, however, they may include the following:

  • wheezing
  • a cough that produces mucus
  • shortness of breath
  • tightness in the chest


Emphysema has no remedy at the moment. Treatments are available, however, to assist decrease the condition’s course and enhance quality of life.

The following are some of the most prevalent emphysema treatments:

  • bronchodilators, which are medications that widen the airways to ease breathing
  • anti-inflammatory drugs, which can help reduce airway inflammation
  • supplemental oxygen, which helps ensure that a person with breathing difficulties has enough oxygen in their blood
  • lung volume reduction surgery, which involves removing a diseased portion of lung tissue to reduce pressure in the lung
  • mental health interventions, which can help manage depression and anxiety

Differences from CE

PLE differs from other types of emphysema, including CE, according to Trusted Source.

CE mainly affects the upper lobes, whereas PLE involves the entire secondary pulmonary lobule, notably the bottom lobes.

PLE can be caused by a variety of causes, but CE is most usually linked to smoking.


Emphysema with PLE is a form of emphysema. The alveoli in the lungs get damaged and rupture in emphysema, resulting in huge air pockets that are inefficient in exchanging gases during respiration. As a result, emphysema is linked to respiratory symptoms such as difficulty breathing, coughing, and wheezing.

PLE affects the entire lung, unlike other types of emphysema. The lower lobes, on the other hand, may display the most severe indications of disease.

PLE can be caused by a variety of causes, including aging and a lack of AAT.

Although there is no cure for PLE, medication can help slow the progression of the disease and improve quality of life.

Bronchodilators can help with breathing, anti-inflammatories can help with airway inflammation, and opioid drugs can help with pain. A doctor may propose lung volume reduction surgery to remove the diseased area of the lungs that is causing issues in rare situations.

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Review of the Zephyr Valve Treatment: Its uses, benefits, and risks



A Zephyr Endobronchial Valve System, or Zephyr Valve, is a device used by doctors to treat severe instances of COPD and emphysema. By improving airflow to the healthy parts of the lungs, they may enhance a person’s quality of life and breathing.

This page goes into greater information about the Zephyr Valve treatment, including the operation, who it is appropriate for, and the risks and benefits. It also goes through what to expect following the operation and other options for people who aren’t a good fit for the procedure.

What is a Zephyr Valve?

Zephyr Valve

Zephyr Valves, according to the COPD Foundation, are minimally invasive devices that can help people with severe emphysema breathe easier. Their use was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2018.

Air flows via the pharynx and larynx and into the lungs when a person breathes. Individuals with severe emphysema, on the other hand, develop hyperinflation, which occurs when air becomes trapped in the lungs. This causes shortness of breath by preventing new air from entering the lungs.

The damaged parts of the lungs that contribute to hyperinflation can be blocked off with a Zephyr Valve. It functions similarly to a train system.

When a person breaths out, it reroutes airflow to the healthy parts of the lungs and allows trapped air and fluids to leave. This relieves pressure on the diaphragm and enhances breathing for the individual.

Furthermore, this device permits the healthy parts of the lungs to expand and grow, making it easier for people to exercise and engage in other daily activities.

Individuals who receive a Zephyr Valve will have a quick installation procedure with no cuts or incisions. As a result, they can be used as an alternative to more intrusive treatments like lung transplants.

How to use

The Zephyr Valve treatment is a one-time, in-patient procedure in which the valves are inserted into the airways by a specialist during a bronchoscopy.

A doctor will recommend a patient to a lung specialist if they believe they are a candidate for Zephyr Valves. The doctor will then conduct lung function tests to see if the treatment is appropriate for the patient.

During the procedure

A surgeon will perform the following procedures during a Zephyr Valve procedure:

  • give the patient a sleeping pill to make the process as painless as possible
  • from the nose or mouth, introduce a flexible tube with a tiny fiber-optic camera or a bronchoscope into the lungs
  • using the bronchoscope, put the Zephyr Valves in the airways

The number of valves used by lung experts varies depending on which lung sections are clogged and contain trapped air, but it is usually four.

The treatment normally takes 30–60 minutes to complete.

The specialist removes the bronchoscope at the end of the procedure and monitors the patient during recovery.

After the procedure

According to the FDA, the patient may need to stay in the hospital for 3–5 days to recover from the procedure. The doctor keeps track on their progress in order to reduce any potential risks.

Antibiotics or other medications may be prescribed to help with any negative effects.

If the patient has no adverse reactions to the procedure, the hospital will provide them a wallet-sized patient ID card stating that they have Zephyr implants in their lungs.

Individuals must carry this card with them at all times and present it whenever they require medical attention, an emergency, or an MRI scan.

Additionally, the healthcare team may advise the patient to continue taking the prescribed medication, since this may aid in the treatment of their severe emphysema and reduce the risk of infection.

Following that, the patient may be required to return to their doctor for follow-up appointments to discuss their progress.

What can it assist you with?

People with severe emphysema can benefit from the Zephyr Valve therapy.

The following are some of the disease’s symptoms:

  • shortness of breath, from physical activity to typical day-to-day activities
  • feeling of tightness in the chest
  • coughing and wheezing
  • whistling sounds when breathing
  • coughing with mucus

Some people, however, are unable to undergo the Zephyr Valve surgery. These are people who:

  • cannot undergo a bronchoscopy procedure
  • have passages in their lungs that bypass the unaffected airways
  • have an active lung infection
  • have an allergy to nitinol, nickel, titanium, or silicone

Individuals who choose the Zephyr technique must also stop smoking for at least four months prior to treatment.


Those who have Zephyr Valve treatment may reap a number of advantages. These are some of them:

  • Reduced shortness of breath: A study published in 2020 looked examined the impact of Zephyr Valves on people who suffer from dyspnea, or shortness of breath. Over the course of a year, people with severe emphysema reported less dyspnea.
  • Increased exercise ability: According to a 2018 study, 54.9 percent of people were affected Zephyr Valve therapy were able to resume employment, leisure, and exercise activities that had previously been difficult for them.
  • Easier long-term breathing: According to a 2018 study, people who had valves implanted in their airways to treat emphysema had higher lung function and exercise ability. Long-term breathing becomes easier as a result of this.
  • Increased life quality: In four distinct randomized controlled clinical trials, people who used Zephyr Valves reported a higher overall quality of life.


Risks and Side Effects of Zephyr Valve Treatments There are risks and side effects to consider with Zephyr Valve treatments. During the first 45 days after the surgery, they are more common.


Pneumothorax happens when there is an air leak or a rip in the lung, which usually occurs within the first 45 days after procedure.

During the treatment term, 26.6 percent of research participants experienced pneumothorax, the most common major adverse event, according to a randomized controlled study.

During the therapy period, 23.3 percent of the 43 patients had pneumothorax, according to another study.

The severity of a pneumothorax determines how it is treated. In the event of a little air leak, the person will require oxygen therapy and rest. In more serious circumstances, a doctor may need to use one of the following ways to operate on the patient:

  • Decompression of the needle: A hollow needle is inserted into the chest by the surgeon. They use a syringe to extract air from the area between the lungs and the chest using the needle.
  • Thoracostomy tube: To remove extra fluid, blood, or air, a surgeon makes an incision in the chest and inserts a tube between the lungs and the chest wall.

In severe cases of pneumothorax, all of the valves may need to be removed.


Pneumonia is an infection that causes inflammation and fluid or pus to fill the air sacs in the lungs.

Among the signs and symptoms are:

  • sharp chest pain that worsens with deep breathing or coughing.
  • fever
  • cough, potentially with mucus

The risk of pneumonia varies. From the day of the Zephyr Valve procedure to 45 days later, one study found a 4.7 percent risk of developing the condition. Furthermore, from 45 days following therapy through the 12-month follow-up, 9% of study participants reported pneumonia as an adverse event.

A doctor will do multiple tests to confirm the diagnosis if there is a risk or suspicion of pneumonia. Blood tests, X-rays, bronchoscopies, and CT scans are examples of these tests.

Pneumonia is treated with rest and increased fluid intake, as well as antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal drugs.

Worsening of emphysema or COPD

During the first 45 days after the pneumothorax study above, 19.5 percent of trial participants had worsening COPD symptoms, compared to 11.3 percent of the control group who merely got normal medication.

56.6 percent of the patients had worsened COPD or emphysema by the 12-month visit, compared to 56.5 percent of the control group.

However, there is little evidence to explain why the Zephyr Valve can help some people with emphysema while worsening symptoms in others.

Increased shortness of breath

Within 45 days of the operation, 16.4% of subjects in one trial developed dyspnea.

Within 30 days of receiving the Zephyr Valve, 2.3 percent of the 93 individuals experienced increased dyspnea, according to another study.


One death was recorded by Impact Research 12 months after the valve was implanted.

In this trial, 3.1 percent of participants died within 45 days of the surgery, with one more dying by the 12-month follow-up visit.

Alternative treatments and products

Because there is currently no cure for emphysema, people who are experiencing symptoms should consult a doctor about condition options.

Treatments that are not conventional include:

  • Changes in your way of life: Avoiding or quitting smoking, as well as secondhand smoke, can help to lower the risk of respiratory problems. It may also prevent existing issues from worsening.
  • Oxygen therapy: This may aid in increasing oxygen levels in the lungs and circulation.
  • Prescribed medication: Bronchodilators, which come in the form of inhalers, relax the muscles surrounding the airways, allowing people to breathe more easily.
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation: Individuals with chronic breathing problems may benefit from a program that includes psychological therapy, exercise, and dietary support.
  • Surgery: A doctor or surgeon may prescribe surgery if severe emphysema symptoms do not improve with medication and therapy. Lung transplants, for example, are a procedure that involves removing damaged lung tissue, removing air holes that interfere with breathing, or removing damaged lung tissue. For people who aren’t a good fit for the Zephyr Valve, other options include lung volume reduction surgery and lung transplantation.


Individuals with severe emphysema or COPD may benefit from Zephyr Valves.

The method is noninvasive and permits airflow to reach the healthy parts of the lungs while stopping incoming air from colliding with the damaged parts.

Because the healthy parts of the lungs can expand as blocked air or fluids release over time, the procedure may enhance a person’s breathing. Shortness of breath is reduced with valve therapy, allowing the patient to live a more active lifestyle.

For people who are unable to have Zephyr Valve treatment, doctors may offer medicines or pulmonary rehabilitation as alternatives.



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Lung supplements: What to know



Coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing up mucus or blood, and chest pain are all people of lung problems. Some companies claim that their vitamins and supplements can help boost lung health. However, medical evidence is still needed to back up these claims. Coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing up mucus or blood, and chest pain are all people of lung problems. Some companies claim that their vitamins and supplements can help boost lung health. However, medical evidence is still needed to back up these claims.

a lady taking pills

This page discusses how supplements may aid the lungs, when this may be beneficial, how to choose, and when to consult a doctor.

About lungs and supplements

Lung health is an important component of the respiratory system. They enable fresh oxygen into the body while also removing waste gases such as carbon dioxide.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), a person can keep their lungs healthy by:

  • not smoking
  • maintaining a moderate weight
  • being physically active
  • being mindful of air pollution
  • taking cold and flu precautions

There has been minimal research into how supplements can improve lung health. However, according to one 2017 study, vitamin D aids in the promotion of respiratory health and the prevention of infections.


According to a 2017 review, clinicians may recommend N-acetylcysteine (NAC) to treat several illnesses caused by unstable atoms.

NAC is a safe and potent antioxidant that can aid with illnesses like asthma and chronic bronchitis when taken as a dietary supplement.

However, more research is needed to determine the entire effects of NAC on the respiratory system.

When should you take lung supplements?

A person suffering from any of the following medical issues may want to consider taking supplementary supplements to improve their lung health:

One study published in 2019 looked at the impact of supplements on the airways of people with asthma who smoked or did not smoke. The author concludes that there were no overall good impacts, and that disease rates increased in several cases.

Supplement security

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledges that supplements are not subject to the same level of scrutiny as prescription pharmaceuticals.

The FDA’s participation in supplement safety and efficacy prior to marketing is minimal. It does, however, state that supplement makers must not sell their goods by making health claims. This implies that supplement makers are not allowed to make claims about their product’s ability to cure, treat, prevent, or diagnose sickness.

If a supplement maker creates a product with a new ingredient, they must notify the FDA, who will only assess it for safety. The EPA is still refusing to authorize the supplement or test its efficacy.

How to Make a Decision

Some supplements may help a person by replenishing important vitamins and minerals in the body. However, before using lung supplements, a person should contact with a doctor, especially if they have a verified condition. This is due to the fact that some supplements may interfere with prescription drugs.

The FDA warns that just because a supplement producer claims to have used natural components does not mean the product is safe. As a result, speaking with a doctor about vitamins and supplements may enhance a person’s general health.

When to See a Doctor

If a person has any worries about their breathing or lung health, they should consult a doctor.

Symptoms of a lung condition, according to the American Lung Association, may include:

  • breathing difficulties
  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing
  • difficulty breathing during exercise
  • a continuous cough
  • coughing up blood or mucus
  • chest pain or discomfort


Supplements that replace the body’s natural stores of vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients may aid people with lung issues. Furthermore, they may provide brief relief from cold or flu symptoms.

However, before using supplements, a person should consult with a doctor, especially if they are also taking prescribed medications. Because of the risk of drug interactions, this is the case.



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