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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Vest that aids in breathing?

11/17/2008

Question:

I was diagnosed with Alpha 1 about six years ago and have been on oxygen therapy about seven years. I also have COPD critical. I am 78 years of age and inherited the A1ATD from my mother. I am able to still walk around but can do very little activity. I am on Advair, Spiriva and oxygen. I smoked until I was seventy years old, so I am not saying "POOR ME", but I recently heard of a vest that aids in breathing for severe patients. Do you have any info on this? Thanks

Answer:

You are obviously having significant problems with shortness of breath as a result of the emphysema that has developed over time. If you have not already done so, I would recommend that you get enrolled in a lung rehabilitation program. Often these programs can do wonders for your general well being and functional capacity.

Regarding the vest question, I believe you are referring to the vibrating vests that are frequently used for patients with bronchiectasis. This can be helpful for patients who have large quantities of productive sputum. It can aid in clearance of secretions. However, if you don't have bronchiectasis (your doctor can advise about that question), then you would probably not benefit from a vibrating vest. Regards.

For more information:

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Response by:

Mark D Wewers, MD Mark D Wewers, MD
Professor of Pulmonology, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
Molecular Virology, Immunology & Medical Genetics
Environmental Health Sciences
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University