Flute Relieves Suffering For Patients With Chronic Lung Disease - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Flute Relieves Suffering For Patients With Chronic Lung Disease

Posted: Updated: Jan 25, 2013 03:43 PM

BUFFALO, N.Y. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – It's the third most common cause of death in the United States. As COPD progresses, the damage to lungs can be irreversible, but now doctors have a new instrument to help people suffering from the chronic disease.

Bernard and Barbara Swanekamp have a lifetime worth of memories. They've been married 56 years.

"He's my best friend," said Barbara Swanekamp.

After a lifetime of smoking, Bernard has the chronic lung disease, COPD.

"It restricts my lungs. I don't like doing this, but if this is the way I have to live, then this is the way I have to live," said Bernard Swanekamp.

Life has been easier the past year thanks to the lung flute.

"Usually I wind up in the hospital one or two times a year in the wintertime. Last winter, there was nothing," Bernard said.

Some people with COPD have excess mucus in their lungs. When patients blow into the flute, sound waves are sent down the airways, mobilizing that mucus. Studies show using it twice a day improves lung congestion and other COPD symptoms.

"It helps with clearance of the mucus and essentially, then they feel better the rest of the day," said Dr. Sanjay Sethi, professor of medicine & Chief of Pulmonary at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and staff physician with the VA Western New York Healthcare System.

It may also help protect against potentially fatal respiratory illnesses like pneumonia.

"There were patients who would come to me all the time and they say, ‘Listen, once I clear the mucus, I feel better,'" Dr. Sethi said.

Bernard relies on the flute.

"It saves me a lot of trips to the hospital, I'll tell you that. This thing has made a world of difference in my life. It really has," Bernard explained.

"When he feels better, I feel better," Barbara said.

The lung flute is FDA approved. Insurance typically covers most of the cost, but if you'd rather pay out of pocket the lung flute and a six month supply of reeds only runs about 50 dollars. A doctor's prescription is needed to get one.

RESEARCH SUMMARY

 

BACKGROUND:  Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a cluster of lung diseases that block airflow when exhaling, making it very difficult to breathe.  There are two main conditions that make up COPD: chronic asthmatic bronchitis and emphysema. Many people have both.  Chronic asthmatic bronchitis causes narrowing of the airways that lead to the lungs and inflammation, making the patient wheeze and cough.  Emphysema damages the tiny air sacs in the lungs.  It gradually destroys the inner walls of the air sac clusters, reducing the amount of surface area available to exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide.  Shortness of breath will occur because the chest wall muscles have to work harder to exhale.  Most COPD is a result from long-term smoking.  Damage to the lungs can't be reversed.  So, treatment aims to control symptoms and minimize further damage. (Source: www.mayoclinic.com)

SYMPTOMS:  Symptoms don't appear until there is a great deal of lung damage.  Patients with COPD are also likely to experience exacerbations when symptoms worsen over time.  Symptoms will vary because there are different lung conditions that form COPD.  Most people will have at least one, but usually more than one, of these symptoms: shortness of breath, chronic cough, wheezing, and chest tightness.  Complications can occur with COPD; respiratory infections, high blood pressure, heart problems, and depression. (Source:www.mayoclinic.com)

NEW TECHNOLOGY:  Since there is no cure for COPD, there are various treatment options to reduce the risk of complications and exacerbations.  The only way to keep COPD from getting worse is to quit smoking.  Doctors will prescribe medications as well.  Bronchodilators help relieve coughing and shortness of breath.  There are inhaled steroids that can reduce airway inflammation to help patients breathe. However, prolonged use of inhaled steroids can weaken bones and increase risk of cataracts, high blood pressure, and diabetes.  Oxygen therapy can be recommended for those who don't have enough oxygen in their blood.  Then there are pulmonary rehabilitation programs that combine education, exercises, nutrition advice, and counseling.  Surgery is always an option for people with severe emphysema who do not get the help they need from medications.  Finally, there is a recent device that is different than all the other treatment options.  It is the only product that uses sound vibration to stimulate the body's natural mucus-clearing system.  It is called the Lung Flute.  It's a reusable, plastic device that is non-invasive and drug free.  Clinical tests have proven that the Lung Flute is capable of breaking up mucus in the lungs, making it effective for diagnostic use and therapy.  This technology is based on low-frequency acoustic waves that are produced when it is blown into. Unlike other technology, this device reaches into the lower airways and lung parenchyma to clear secretions deep in the lungs. (Source: www.lungflute.com

INTERVIEW

Sanjay Sethi, MD, Professor of Medicine and Chief of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and staff physician with the VA Western NY Healthcare System, talks about a new therapy for COPD patients.

Can you tell me what problems do people with COPD have? What are the difficulties? Why is it so difficult to live with this?

Dr. Sethi: The biggest symptom is dyspnea, shortness of breath. They also have problems with cough and sputum on a daily basis. So those are the major symptoms. They also tend to have fatigue; more advanced cases develop weight loss. They also become more prone to respiratory infections and they get these episodes known as exacerbations.

So they are more prone to pneumonia?

Dr. Sethi: Yes, but they also get more bronchitis attacks. They experience on daily basis; shortness of breath, cough and sputum.

How does it impact them? Are they tired all the time?  

Dr. Sethi: They are very limited in their activities and the different symptoms impact them differently. For example, when they have shortness of breath they become more and more inactive and this inactivity makes them deconditioned which makes them more inactive. So they kind of get into this vicious cycle of shortness of breath, inactivity, and deconditioning. The cough and sputum is, of course, very irritating for them. It is also sometimes a social issue and then the sputum itself, bothers them because they feel it in the chest, in the airways, and that essentially can contribute to the shortness of breath and chest discomfort.

Is COPD an umbrella term for a lot of kind of different lung conditions? 

Dr. Sethi: Pretty much; mainly chronic bronchitis and emphysema. So those are the two terms we used to use. Bronchitis refers to having a cough and Sputum Emphysema refer to having destruction of the lung, but there was actually used to be a lot of diagnostic confusion because some patients thought they had bronchitis; some thought they had emphysema. So now we have moved back, moved to more of an umbrella term of COPD and the other way to think about it is most of COPD in the US now is smoking related or ex-smokers. I like to call it, smoking-related lung disease, smoking-related chronic lung disease, or other exposures too.

What currently do they have to help them?

Dr. Sethi: In terms of the medications, the most important thing is quitting smoking. That is the cornerstone of treating COPD, but many a times the disease gets established or they have difficulty quitting. Then we have medications. They mainly fall into two categories; bronchodilators and anti-inflammatories. Bronchodilators open up the airways, help them breath better. The anti-inflammatories also help with the breathing, cough, and sputum. Also they help with reducing the exacerbation episodes. All these medications reduce exacerbation episodes, but none of these drugs directly attack the mucus in order to help directly in terms of clearing the mucus.  

What are the dangers of having that mucus kind of sit there in their lungs?

Dr. Sethi: Well I think the danger is the discomfort of having it. You have some blockage of the airways. Obviously, it is going to contribute to the shortness of breath and sensations of chest discomfort. Then the other danger is that the mucus is basically a pool. A little amount of mucus is normal, but we don't cough normally because we have these cilia in our airways which clear the mucus. We don't normally cough on a daily basis and the amount of mucus is quite small. It is a very thin layer. When people develop COPD, they have more mucus and it also changes in its viscosity and its clear ability. That becomes much more difficult to clear and it then can become a small amount of mucus actually protects against infection, the normal mucus, but if you have excess mucus, you are more likely to get infections too.

Like pneumonia? 

Dr. Sethi: Like pneumonia or exacerbations.

Can you tell me, what is the lung flute?

Dr. Sethi: The lung flute is essentially a device known as an oscillatory expiratory device. Essentially, when patients blow into this device, there is a reed in this device and the reed oscillates and this oscillation kind of sends a wave, retrograde, down the airways and that is supposed to help with airway clearance basically, secretion clearance.

Can you please explain what the sound wave technology is?

Dr. Sethi: It is a sound wave so that the reed is tuned in a certain way, to a certain hertz. I think it is in the 14 to 18 hertz range. That particular frequency helps with the, mucus clearance aspect of it.

And how does it help? 

Dr. Sethi: It was invented by, or at least part of the people involved, were a Buffalo company and when they came to me and said we have this device which was created by an acoustic engineer. I said well we can, there are diseases I know which I deal with every day where people are very inconvenienced by and they do not have adequate ways to clear their secretions; so can we look at that to see if we can make these people clear their secretions easier. The other thing that came up while we were discussing this was the whole issue of needing to get the mucus from these patients to do studies in. For example, if you are looking for somebody with pneumonia, we want to look at what bacteria are down there. We want to look at sputum of people with suspected cancer. There was this diagnostic need of getting mucus from people reliably and easily also. So that was one aspect. The other aspect was helping people with COPD. There are other chronic lung diseases in which the results are a problem with excessive mucus, like cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, and also some patients with asthma. We focused on COPD.

How does sound wave technology clear mucus?

Dr. Sethi: We have not done all the detailed studies because they are rather difficult and expensive and can be quite complicated to look at exactly how fast the clearance happens. The concept is that because of the wave, the mucus kind may be getting liquefied a little bit or shaken around a little bit and because it (the wave) does go into all the airways, so that then results in better clear ability. So the way we use it in our patients is that they blow through it a few times and then they kind of do a huff cough, the kind of cough with an open airway, and because the mucus is now easy to clear, they should be able to bring it up easier.

What have your studies shown so far? 

Dr. Sethi: Our studies, we have done two. Initially we started with healthy people; made sure the device is safe and then we went ahead and did the studies. These are pretty much following FDA requirements because the company was interested in getting the indication for the device. So, we said fine. Then we helped them develop the protocol and basically did the studies. The initial one was to look at diagnostic to see if used once, can you get an adequate sputum sample. We compared that with a more traditional method of doing that which is known as hypertonic saline, which is highly concentrated saline. The flute seemed to work as well as that. So, on the basis of that, they went to the FDA and they had a diagnostic indication. Then for the therapeutic indication, we took patients with COPD, who had mucus, which means they had chronic bronchitis and took those patients and either put them on the flute or another device which is marketed for similar purposes known as the acapella and we showed that with both the devices, the patients did feel better. The idea was to show that it is not inferior to the acapella, but at the same time also were able to show that in terms of symptoms and all, actually they did better with the flute.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Frank Codella
Co-founder & President
Medical Acoustics
(716) 218-7353
1-888-820-0970
fcodella@medicalacoustics.com

  • Medical News HeadlinesMedical News HeadlinesMore>>

  • Migraine Relief: Stopping Pain & Relieving Pressure

    Migraine Relief: Stopping Pain & Relieving Pressure

    Friday, April 18 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-18 21:15:06 GMT
    Meredith Messerli is thankful she can study without pain. The college freshman spent two years of her life battling severe migraines.more>>
    Meredith Messerli is thankful she can study without pain. The college freshman spent two years of her life battling severe migraines.more>>
  • Hope For Lanie: Curing SMA

    Hope For Lanie: Curing SMA

    Thursday, April 17 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-17 21:15:09 GMT
    SMA attacks the body's motor neurons and causes paralysis. There is no cure, but for the first time doctors are studying an experimental therapy that targets more than just symptoms.more>>
    SMA attacks the body's motor neurons and causes paralysis. There is no cure for SMA but for the first time doctors are studying an experimental therapy that targets more than just symptoms, it targets mutated SMN genes, which are responsible for SMA.more>>
  • Washing Lungs & Breathing Better

    Washing Lungs & Breathing Better

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-16 21:15:09 GMT
    Imagine not being able to breathe without struggling: every breath you take is work; every breath you take could be your last. That was the case for one man who became dependent on an oxygen tank to stay alive.more>>
    Imagine not being able to breathe without struggling: every breath you take is work; every breath you take could be your last. That was the case for one man who became dependent on an oxygen tank to stay alive.more>>
  • Ocular Melanoma: Saving Lives, Saving Eyes

    Ocular Melanoma: Saving Lives, Saving Eyes

    Friday, April 11 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-11 21:15:07 GMT
    Ocular melanoma, also called uveal melanoma, is a rare type of melanoma that targets the eye. It can be a deadly if it isn't spotted early enough. Now, there's a way to treat patients that's saving lives and saving eyes.more>>
    Ocular melanoma, also called uveal melanoma, is a type of melanoma that targets the eye. It affects about 2,000 people a year in the United States. Although rare – it can be a deadly if it isn't spotted early enough. Now, there's a way to treat patients that's saving lives and saving eyes.more>>
  • Memory Palace: Coping With Chemo Brain

    Memory Palace: Coping With Chemo Brain

    Thursday, April 10 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-10 21:15:09 GMT
    More than 13 million Americans are living with some form of cancer. Harsh treatments like chemo and radiation save lives, but they will also change lives. Now, many cancer survivors are learning how to cope with chemo brain.more>>
    More than 13 million Americans are living with some form of cancer. Harsh treatments like chemo and radiation save lives, but they will also change lives. Now, many cancer survivors are learning how to cope with chemo brain.more>>
  • Pedaling For A Cure

    Pedaling For A Cure

    Wednesday, April 9 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-09 21:15:09 GMT
    Five years ago, Leslie Trudeau's world came crashing down. At just 22 years old, her son Taylor lost his battle with leukemia. That's why Trudeau is pedaling for a cure.more>>
    Five years ago, Leslie Trudeau's world came crashing down. At just 22 years old, her son Taylor lost his battle with leukemia. That's why Trudeau is pedaling for a cure.more>>
  • Bringing Hearts Back To Life: New Improved Defibrillator

    Bringing Hearts Back To Life: New Improved Defibrillator

    Tuesday, April 8 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-08 21:15:13 GMT
    CPR and a portable defibrillator helped keep Eric Robinson alive after he went into cardiac arrest. And now a newly FDA approved Biotronik implantable cardiac defibrillator, or ICD, constantly monitors his heart.more>>
    A year ago, while jamming with his son's band, Eric Robinson went into cardiac arrest. CPR and a portable defibrillator helped keep Robinson alive. And now a newly FDA approved Biotronik implantable cardiac defibrillator, or ICD, constantly monitors his heart.more>>
  • Helping High Risk Hearts

    Helping High Risk Hearts

    Monday, April 7 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-07 21:15:09 GMT
    Ironing is not exactly Barbara Roy's favorite activity, but it's something she's glad she can do again. Her doctor diagnosed her with severe aortic stenosis.more>>
    Ironing is not exactly Barbara Roy's favorite activity, but it's something she's glad she can do again. Her doctor diagnosed her with severe aortic stenosis.more>>
  • Hernias In Newborns: Lincoln's Story

    Hernias In Newborns: Lincoln's Story

    Friday, April 4 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-04 21:15:07 GMT
    Congenital diaphragmatic hernias occur in about one in every 2,000 births. They can be deadly, but now doctors are using a more aggressive treatment approach.more>>
    Congenital diaphragmatic hernias occur in about one in every 2,000 births. They can be deadly, but now doctors are using a more aggressive treatment approach.more>>
  • Predicting Bad Hearts

    Predicting Bad Hearts

    Thursday, April 3 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-03 21:15:09 GMT
    Every year, more than 700,000 Americans have a heart attack. Now, researchers at Baylor Research Institute at Dallas have uncovered a biomarker that may help them spot the disease sooner.more>>
    Every year, more than 700,000 Americans have a heart attack. And 600,000 die of heart disease. Now, researchers at Baylor Research Institute at Dallas have uncovered a biomarker that may help them spot the disease sooner; and they did it by pure accident.more>>
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 NewsChannel 5 (WTVF-TV) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.