Researchers find new COPD therapy device makes breathing easier

by Jeff Renaud

A new device designed to help people suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other mucus producing lung diseases developed by Trudell Medical International has been clinically tested by researchers at Western University and results show it improves breathlessness and the ability to move mucus, as well as betters a patient's quality of life.

The Aerobika Oscillating Positive Expiratory Pressure (OPEP) Therapy System is a drug-free, easy to use, hand-held that aims to help people with lung disease breathe easier.

The OPEP device was tested by Dr. David McCormack and Grace Parraga from Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and their team at Robarts Research Institute.

Initial study results showed that participants using it were able to more easily move mucus up and out of the lungs, which allowed for improved breathing and quality of life.

"We're really fortunate at Western to have Trudell Medical International, an innovative medical device company focused on lung disease, based in London," says Parraga. "Trudell has been working tirelessly for years on new treatments for lung disease and at the same time, we've been developing, in parallel, new ways to look at lung disease using novel medical imaging methods, developed here at Robarts. It is an outstanding example of university-industry collaboration that we have achieved in London."

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Trudell CEO Mitch Baran says that he and his team agree wholeheartedly with Parraga and believes the synergy created by this collaboration was instrumental in launching this device, which has the ability to assist the world's estimated 600-million COPD sufferers and others battling phlegm-producing .

"Drug treatment is often the preferred method, but may not be completely effective in achieving adequate airway clearance," says Baran. "Each patient's COPD, be it chronic bronchitis, emphysema or any other lung disease, is unique and may need a variety of therapies. The innovation built into our Aerobika OPEP device delivers excellent effectiveness while being very easy to use."

Baran says the overall goal of the device is to ensure the patient can maintain their treatments to control their symptoms, breathe easier, enjoy a better quality of life and ultimately, stay out of the hospital.

The research team, including PhD candidate Sarah Svenningsen and MSc candidate Gregory Paulin, evaluated the OPEP device using a novel approach that involves inhaled hyperpolarized Helium-3 (a light, non-radioactive isotope of helium) and MRI images before and after OPEP therapy.

More information: For more information, including videos and scans, please visit: communications.uwo.ca/media/copd/

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