New Smartphone App Could Help COPD Patients

Enter a new smartphone app that aims to use technology to help COPD sufferers to recognize emergencies, and avoid unnecessary doctors’ or ER visits.

 

 

Ted Smith is the CEO of Revon Systems, a tech company based in East Louisville, and the developer of the “Smart COPD” app. The app is designed on a simple premise: that some of those emergency room visits could have been prevented if people were able to track their symptoms.

“The focus of the app is helping you keep track of whether your systems are starting to deteriorate so that you don’t have to get to a point where you have to go to the hospital for emergency care” Smith said.

When you open the app, it poses a series of questions: “Shortness of breath?” “Cough?” and “Running nose or feeling like you have a cold?” It also asks for temperature, and for users to punch in the readings from a separate device that measures oxygen saturation and heart rate.

Finally, the app evaluates the information and tells the user whether they need to head to the ER, call their doctor, check back in a few days or that no medical attention is needed.

It’s simple, and requires only a cell phone and a cheap finger oxygen and heart rate monitor.

 

“People have telephones, they’re our life line. So putting a self-management tool on a cell phone is just a genius idea,” Montague said.

He sees that as a possible opportunity for Smart COPD to reach more people with low-incomes.

“If there’s one thing I wish for, it’s that we take advantage of something we’re already paying for as a society and turn it into health care,” Smith said.

Interested? Search for ‘Revon Systems’ in your App store and look for the “Smart COPD” app.

 

 

Reference: http://wfpl.org/local-entrepreneur-creates-copd-app-shows-hope-for-louisvillians/

Thunderstorm Asthma on the Rise

For seasonal allergy sufferers, rain is usually thought of as a friend—it washes the pollen out of the air. However, there are circumstances in which a particular type of wet weather event can make things much worse: thunderstorms. Asthma epidemics have occurred under such circumstances and have affected patients who have never exhibited asthmatic symptoms before. The most recent severe episode occurred in Melbourne, Australia, in 2016, with 8500 emergency asthma visits and nine deaths.[1]

Recently in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Dr Gennaro D’Amato and colleagues[1] explored the nature of this phenomenon and implications for the future. The authors point out that although rare, these events are expected to occur more often with anticipated climate change. According to the authors, the evidence for this so far is limited to pollen and outdoor mold seasons—but even in the northeastern United States, that is about three quarters of the year.

 

Who Is at Risk?

Certainly, people who are sensitized to the relevant allergens are at risk. Beyond that, we can presume that patients who already have poorly controlled asthma or more bronchial hyperresponsiveness would be at risk, as would patients who have other concurrent risk factors for allergic asthma (such as rhinovirus infection[5]).

What differentiates people who died of asthma from those who did not? Did they have bronchodilating asthma inhalers? Were these fatalities akin to fatal food anaphylaxis in patients who did not have treatment with injectable epinephrine? Many questions remain.

Thunderstorm asthma is an uncommon event that can overwhelm healthcare systems and kill patients. It is yet another reason to screen atopic patients for asthma. Those who are sensitized to pollens or outdoor molds and also wheeze with colds are prime candidates for additional evaluation for undiagnosed asthma. Likewise, patients with exercise-induced asthma (who perhaps have more than just this condition) should probably have spirometry to assess for baseline airway hyperreactivity and perhaps exhaled nitric oxide as well. Perhaps for milder asthmatics who are deemed at higher risk, instead of a bronchodilator alone, we should prescribe a combination inhaler with a corticosteroid and a long-acting fast-onset bronchodilator.

Interactive Medical Drones

By combining the two technologies, drones and telemedicine, a doctor miles away could instruct a layman at the scene in how to provide rudimentary, but perhaps life-saving, medical care.

Subbarao’s project, which he began the year after the Hattiesburg tornado, has now produced three prototypes and conducted several demonstration flights. It appears to be the most advanced attempt to equip a drone with audiovisual equipment so doctors and survivors can interact in an emergency.  Emergency management officials from Dallas, New York City, Phoenix and Washington, D.C., have reached out to him, as have officials from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

 

Drone technology has been around for at least half a century, and for years people in health care have speculated about the medical use of drones, for example to transport medicines, organs for transplants, blood supplies and anti-venom serums.

Lee Smithson, director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, said, “This is going to be a phenomenal way to provide immediate medical attention anywhere in the state.” Noting Mississippi’s frequent poor rankings among states in measures of well-being, he added, “It’s about time that Mississippi leads the nation in something good for a change.”

The plan, Smithson said, is to eventually station a drone in as many as nine different areas of the state, so every place in Mississippi is within two hours of a medical drone.

Chris Sawyer, medical director of Remote Area Medical, isn’t surprised by the broad interest in the project. “It is revolutionary,” he said.

It’s also not altogether a surprise that the idea of an interactive medical drone arose in Mississippi. The state is frequently visited by tornadoes, some of which have caused substantial numbers of deaths and injuries. The state has a shortage of doctors and, according to Smithson, many areas of the state cannot be reached quickly by medical responders.

 

The current prototypes can only fly up to 5 miles, at speeds up to 40 mph, Lott says, but he’s working on another model that could travel far greater distances, up to 100 miles.

The drones carry a suitcase with medical supplies and equipment. The audiovisual equipment comes in two varieties: stand-alone cameras with microphones and speakers, and interactive goggles that can be worn by someone on the ground. In either case, a doctor from a remote location could instruct a survivor to train the camera on victims or parts of the body to assess their condition.

 

The doctor could give instructions on taking readings such as blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, or sugar or oxygen levels, using equipment dropped by the drone. And the doctor could talk a survivor through ways of giving aid, such as applying tourniquets, cleaning, clotting or bandaging wounds, and injecting medicines.

 

WILLIAM CAREY UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE

Reference:Huff Post

Organising oxygen for tomorrow

Rutger Berntsen and Noor Pijnenburg, both Dutch, manage a unique company.

 
Since 1993 Oxygen Worldwide arranges worldwide a 24-hours oxygen service for traveling patients with breathing problems. Thanks to Oxygen Worldwide, these people still can go on holidays.
 
Everything is organised down to the smallest details, because in our profession nothing may go wrong”, says Rutger, who demonstrates his computer programem showing all global delivery points.
 
The network ensures that travelers and vacationers anywhere get their oxygen delivered on time.
Some people make fun of it and say: “Selling air, Rutger, that’s clever!” It just makes me smile. “

Saving lives since the 1900s

Coronary heart disease (CHD) remains a significant cause of death, accounting for 1 in 10 deaths worldwide.

heart
A study in to whether oxygen therapy in patients that have suspected heart conditions is being conducted.

International guidelines recommend improving or decreasing the cardiac workload using a combination of therapies known as MONA: morphine, oxygen, nitrates, and aspirin.

Oxygen, via face mask or nasal cannula, is often administered to patients with suspected AMI.

According to Dion Stub, MBBS, PhD, from The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, treating AMI with oxygen has its roots in practices dating back more than a century. “Oxygen was first administered to patients with suspected ACS in 1900, and to this day is given to [more than] 90% of patients with cardiac emergencies. Whilst other medical practices from the early 1900s — such as starvation diets for aneurysms and mercury as a treatment for infections — were quickly discarded, the routine use of oxygen in cardiac emergencies has remained a pervasive component of first medical response,” Dr Stub told Cardiology Advisor.

Oxygen therapy may decrease cardiac blood flow and perfusion, reduce cardiac output, and increase coronary vascular resistance.

In 2010, Juan Cabello, MD, PhD, from Hospital General Universitario de Alicante in Spain, and colleagues published a review of the literature for oxygen therapy in AMI conducted to determine whether this practice is helpful or harmful. They found that robust evidence to support the use of oxygen to treat AMI was lacking.

The uncertainty of whether oxygen therapy in AMI is beneficial or harmful has stimulated the development of clinical trials examining this question.

According to Dr Cabello, no firm recommendation can be made regarding oxygen therapy for AMI given the low quality and scarcity of the available clinical trial evidence. “The message for clinicians is that we still do not know if oxygen is helpful, harmful, or useless,” he said. “There are theoretical reasons why it could help and also why it could do harm.”

“This updated Cochrane Review further emphasizes the message that oxygen should be treated like all other medical therapies, in which efficacy needs to be balanced with the side effect profile,” Dr Stub said.

References: http://www.thecardiologyadvisor.com

Christmas check list

xmasChristmas is a time for friends, family and a lot of preparing gifts, journeys, cards to send but most of all do not get too stressed and rushed and forget to look after yourself or your family’s health over the festive period.

Plan ahead:

  • Order any repeat prescriptions you may need especially if you are going away for the festive season.

 

  1. Check that you have enough oxygen supply for the Christmas period.
  2. If you are going away make sure you make arrangements for any oxygen that you need.
  3. Also look out for lonely, vulnerable neighbours and friends during the winter period, that may need your help or even conversation.
  4. Stay warm during the festive time – make sure you pre-programme your heating for when you are going to be in and set your thermostat to a suitable temperature.
  5. If you are ordering a supply of oxygen make sure you have registered with OxygenWorldwide so any concerns whilst away can be dealt with 24/7
  6. Have a lovely Christmas!!!!

Rheumatoid Arthritis Also Damages Your Lungs

Rheumatoid arthritis is a well-known disease for causing damage to joints, however the disease can also affect your lungs. It can cause damage to the tissue around the joints as well as your eyes, heart and lungs.

lungs

“We call it rheumatoid arthritis, but we should really call it rheumatoid disease,” says Elinor Mody, MD, director of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Women’s Orthopaedic and Joint Disease Centre in Boston. Besides the joints, the “heart and lungs are the most commonly affected,” Mody says. Doctors aren’t sure how or why rheumatoid arthritis causes other organs to suffer, but lung complications of rheumatoid arthritis can be serious and even cause death.

Interstitial Lung Disease

Rheumatoid arthritis-associated interstitial lung disease, or RA-ILD, is the most serious lung complication for people with rheumatoid arthritis. This illness can be hard to detect, but occurs when lung tissue becomes inflamed and eventually scarred.

* Smoking increases the risk of developing it but non-smokers do develop RA-ILD.

* It causes breathlessness and a dry cough, but in many cases it is symptomless making it difficult to be able to detect it early enough to try and treat it.

* There are trials going on at the moment trialling new drugs to try and treat it but nothing has been very successful so far making the disease difficult to treat, other than treating the symptoms.

Pulmonary Fibrosis

The inflammation and scarring caused by RA-ILD can lead to pulmonary fibrosis and permanent scarring of the lung tissues. The air sacs are gradually replaced by scar tissue reducing the respiratory capability of the lungs and resulting in shortness of breath.

* Supplemental oxygen can be used to help make breathing easier but it cannot reverse the dame done by pulmonary fibrosis.

* Methotrexate is a drug commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, however this drug also causes pulmonary fibrosis. If you are on this drug then your

respiratory status needs to be carefully monitored.

Nodules

Rheumatoid arthritis can also cause nodules to form in the throat and on the vocal cords, causing complications like hoarseness and other changes. Nodules can develop in the lungs as well, but usually don’t cause symptoms and patients may never notice them.

Prevention of Respiratory Issues

Because of the high risk of complications due to rheumatoid arthritis-associated lung disease and the fact that there is little treatment available, prevention is key. To help reduce your risk:

* Don’t smoke. If you do, ask your doctor for suggestions about how to quit smoking immediately. Chemicals found in cigarettes can irritate already delicate lung tissue, leading to further complications.

* Have regular check-ups. Your doctor should listen to your lungs and monitor your breathing at each visit as lung problems that are detected early can be easier to treat. Talk to your doctor about any shortness of breath you’re experiencing and ask about changing medications or starting supplemental oxygen therapy to help ease symptoms.

References: http://www.everydayhealth.com