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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Seniors' Health Channel
Reported January 2, 2013

Musical Medicine: A Flute for COPD -- 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:

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:

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:


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