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      A Functional Respiratory Imaging Approach to the Effect of an Oscillating Positive Expiratory Pressure Device in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

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          Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients are prone to suffer from chronic bronchitis, which ultimately affects their quality of life and overall prognosis. Oscillating positive expiratory pressure (oPEP) devices are designed to aid in the mucus clearance by generating positive pressure pulses in the airways. The main aim of this study was to analyze the impact of a specific oPEP device – Aerobika ® – on top of standard of care medication in COPD patients’ lung dynamics and drug deposition.

          Patients and Methods

          In this single-arm pilot study, patients were assessed using standard spirometry tests and functional respiratory imaging (FRI) before and after a period of 15±3 days of using the oPEP device twice daily (before their standard medication).


          The utilization of the oPEP device led to a significant increase of 2.88% in specific airway volume after two weeks (1.44 (SE: 0.18) vs 1.48 (SE: 0.19); 95% CI = [0.03%,5.81%]; p=0.048). Moreover, the internal airflow distribution (IAD) was affected by the treatment: patients’ changes ranged from −6.74% to 4.51%. Furthermore, IAD changes at the lower lobes were also directly correlated with variations in forced expiratory volume in one second and peak expiratory flow; conversely, IAD changes at the upper lobes were inversely correlated with these clinical parameters. Interestingly, this change in IAD was significantly correlated with changes in lobar drug deposition ( r 2=0.30, p<0.001).


          Our results support that the Aerobika device utilization leads to an improved airflow, which in turn causes a shift in IAD and impacts the drug deposition patterns of the concomitant medication in patients with COPD.

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          Most cited references 17

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          Validation of computational fluid dynamics in CT-based airway models with SPECT/CT.

          To compare the results obtained by using numerical flow simulations with the results of combined single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and computed tomography (CT) and to demonstrate the importance of correct boundary conditions for the numerical methods to account for the large amount of interpatient variability in airway geometry. This study was approved by all relevant institutional review boards. All patients gave their signed informed consent. In this study, six patients with mild asthma (three men; three women; overall mean age, 46 years ± 17 [standard deviation]) underwent CT at functional residual capacity and total lung capacity, as well as SPECT/CT. CT data were used for segmentation and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. A comparison was made between airflow distribution, as derived with (a) SPECT/CT through tracer concentration analysis, (b) CT through lobar expansion measurement, and (c) CFD through flow computer simulation. Also, the heterogeneity of the ventilation was examined. Good agreement was found between SPECT/CT, CT, and CFD in terms of airflow distribution and hot spot detection. The average difference for the internal airflow distribution was less than 3% for CFD and CT versus SPECT/CT. Heterogeneity in ventilation patterns could be detected with SPECT/CT and CFD. This results of this study show that patient-specific computer simulations with appropriate boundary conditions yield information that is similar to that obtained with functional imaging tools, such as SPECT/CT. © RSNA, 2010
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            Regional deposition of inhaled particles in human lungs: comparison between men and women.

             Han-Sung Kim,  John Hu (1998)
            We measured detailed regional deposition patterns of inhaled particles in healthy adult male (n = 11; 25 +/- 4 yr of age) and female (n = 11; 25 +/- 3 yr of age) subjects by means of a serial bolus aerosol delivery technique for monodisperse fine [particle diameter (Dp) = 1 micron] and coarse aerosols (Dp = 3 and 5 micron). The bolus aerosol (40 ml half-width) was delivered to a specific volumetric depth (Vp) of the lung ranging from 100 to 500 ml with a 50-ml increment, and local deposition fraction (LDF) was assessed for each of the 10 local volumetric regions. In all subjects, the deposition distribution pattern was very uneven with respect to Vp, showing characteristic unimodal curves with respect to particle size and flow rate. However, the unevenness was more pronounced in women. LDF tended to be greater in all regions of the lung in women than in men for Dp = 1 micron. For Dp = 3 and 5 micron, LDF showed a marked enhancement in the shallow region of Vp 200 ml. Total lung deposition was comparable between men and women for fine particles but was consistently greater in women than men for coarse particles regardless of flow rates used: the difference ranged from 9 to 31% and was greater with higher flow rates (P < 0.05). The results indicate that 1) particle deposition characteristics differ between healthy men and women under controlled breathing conditions and 2) deposition in women is greater than that in men.
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              Clinical issues of mucus accumulation in COPD

              Airway mucus is part of the lung’s native immune function that traps particulates and microorganisms, enabling their clearance from the lung by ciliary transport and cough. Mucus hypersecretion and chronic productive cough are the features of the chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Overproduction and hypersecretion by goblet cells and the decreased elimination of mucus are the primary mechanisms responsible for excessive mucus in chronic bronchitis. Mucus accumulation in COPD patients affects several important outcomes such as lung function, health-related quality of life, COPD exacerbations, hospitalizations, and mortality. Nonpharmacologic options for the treatment of mucus accumulation in COPD are smoking cessation and physical measures used to promote mucus clearance. Pharmacologic therapies include expectorants, mucolytics, methylxanthines, beta-adrenergic receptor agonists, anticholinergics, glucocorticoids, phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors, antioxidants, and antibiotics.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                04 June 2020
                : 15
                : 1261-1268
                [1 ]Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Antwerp , Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium
                [2 ]FLUIDDA nv , Antwerp, Kontich, Belgium
                [3 ]Trudell Medical International , London, Ontario, Canada
                [4 ]Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Antwerp , Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Glenn Leemans Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesUniversity of Antwerp ,Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Wilrijk, Antwerp, BelgiumTel +32 495 34 84 59 Email
                © 2020 Leemans et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms (

                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 3, References: 22, Pages: 8
                The study was funded by Trudell Medical International.
                Original Research


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