New York: An Indian-origin scientist has developed a hand-held "lung flute" that allows patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to clear lung mucus simply by blowing into the respiratory device.
It uses sound waves to break up mucus in the lungs.
"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 principal author Sanjay Sethi, professor at department of medicine, University of Buffalo's medical school.
The 26-week-long study demonstrated that patients using the "Lung Flute" experience less difficulty in breathing and less coughing and sputum production than a control group which saw no change in COPD symptoms.
Researchers followed 69 patients with COPD for six months. It was conducted at the Veterans Affairs Western New York Healthcare System (Buffalo VA).
"This study confirms and extends the results of a previous, eight-week study of 40 patients that was conducted in 2010 to obtain FDA approval for the 'Lung Flute'," Sethi added.
He has led a series of clinical trials demonstrating the safety and efficacy of the "Lung Flute", including those that played a key role in the approval of the device for diagnostic and therapeutic uses by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Sethi and his colleagues are now working to make the device helpful in improving asthma symptoms.
The device, manufactured by Buffalo-based Medical Acoustics, is also being investigated for diagnostic use in tuberculosis and lung cancer.
The paper appeared in the journal Clinical and Translational Medicine.