November Is National COPD Awareness Month

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute tells us the disease kills more than 120,000 Americans each year–that’s one death every four minutes–and causes serious, long term disability. The number of people with COPD is increas- ing. More than 12 million people are diagnosed with COPD and an additional 12 million likely have the disease and don’t even know it. The more we are able to raise awareness, the more people we can help. For those who have been diagnosed, we encourage you to stay active!

image303Florida dignitaries present Nick Jones, center, with a proclamation declaring November to be COPD month!

Lung Valves Have Some Benefits for Emphysema

Results of the VENT study – Endobronchial Valve for Emphysema Palliation Trial – showed people with advanced emphysema received modest improvements in lung function and exercise tolerance after implantation of an Zephyr endobronchial valve. Researchers reported the findings in a recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, although editors noted it is premature to recommend the routine use of endobronchial valves in patients with COPD.

image322Zephyr valve therapy involves placement of one- way valves in the lung to prevent air flow into that part of the lung, while allowing trapped air and fluid to escape. The valve is produced by Pulmonx Corp. of California, formerly Emphasys Medical.

In 2010, the American Thoracic Society published Breathing in America: Diseases, Progress, and Hope, a image306book that explores the nature and causes of pulmonary, critical care and sleep disorders, their prevalence and burden, the benefits research has brought and the research challenges that remain. It tells where we are on our path to curing or controlling 23 different respiratory conditions. The book is a compilation of basic facts about lung disease in America and describes the role that research must play in advancing its prevention, treatment and management.

The online version is available for free at http://www. thoracic.org/education/breathing-in-america/index.php.  If you would like a copy of the 268-page book mailed to you, please call 1-800-247-6553. The cost is $22.95 plus $5.00 for standard shipping.