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.
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – a long-term disease of the lungs, severe long-term asthma
- cystic fibrosis – an inherited disease that causes the lungs to become clogged with thick, sticky mucus
- pulmonary hypertension – high pressure inside the arteries to the lungs, which causes damage to the right-hand side of the heart
- obstructive sleep apnoea – a condition that causes interrupted breathing during sleep diseases of the nerves and muscles or ribcage
- heart failure – when the heart struggles to pump enough blood around the body.
- compressed oxygen cylinders
- liquid oxygen in cylinders
- an oxygen concentrator machine, which extracts oxygen from the air
- Oxygen cylinders
Just because you need to travel with medical oxygen, this need not restrict the opportunities to travel overseas it just takes a little bit more planning. Flying with a Disability offers you the following advice to ensure a safe, happy flight.
Travellers who require oxygen for medical use are, unfortunately, subject to a charge per bottle. This rate varies between airline, and can be quite expensive. You will need to contact the airline at least 48hrs prior to flying to advise the flow rate, and to get full medical clearance, though this tends to be minor technicality.
Charges for portable medical oxygen can vary greatly, usually between £30 and £100 ($50 – $150). It is interesting to note that many airlines charge not per canister, but per leg of your trip. So in a flight which involves two legs, you’re going to be charge twice as much a direct flight, despite the fact that you may be covering the same distance in the same length of time.
Economically, therefore, it can work out a lot cheaper if you can organise a direct flight, though this may not always be possible.
If you need help with planning your trip use specialised medical oxygen companies who can help answer all your queries and make your journey stress-free and a safe landing.
There is also some planning whilst safely on the ground with back up services available for portable oxygen concentrators whilst travelling overseas so you can ensure to have a great holiday with medical oxygen.
An injection that delivers oxygen directly into the bloodstream for patients who cannot breathe has been invented by scientists at Boston Children’s Hospital, according a report published in Science Translational Medicine. The authors explained that when patients suffer from an obstructed airway or acute lung failure, they urgently need oxygen to reach their blood, otherwise they have brain injury or suffer from cardiac arrest.
The researchers designed an injection filled with tiny, gas-filled microparticles that can be administered directly into the bloodstream, supplying it with much-needed oxygen.
The microparticles are made of a single layer of fatty molecules that surround a miniscule pocket of oxygen – they are placed in a liquid solution and injected into the patients.
John Kheir and team say that patients who are injected with this solution, may regain near-normal blood oxygen levels within seconds.
In animal experiments, the authors reported that they could beep the animals alive without breathing for 15 minutes, drastically reducing the incidence of organ injury and cardiac arrest (the heart stops completely).
The oxygen injection may buy the patient valuable time John Kheir explained that the microparticle solutions are easy to carry around, and could conveniently be utilized to keep people who cannot breathe alive, giving emergency personnel more time to get patients to a safe place where more sophisticated life-saving procedures can be carried out.
The authors say the microparticle solution injections could not be used for more than fifteen to thirty minutes, because they contain fluid that would overload the blood if used for any longer.
These are not blood substitutes, Kheir stressed. Blood substitutes carry oxygen, but are of limited use when the lungs are not working and cannot oxygenate them. These microparticles are specifically designed for people who cannot breathe.
After caring for a young girl who had severe pneumonia in 2006 and suffered severe brain injury because of extremely low blood-oxygen levels, Kheir starting looking into the idea of injectable oxygen.
The little girl died before the medical team could get her on a heart-lung machine.
It was several years before the team managed to get the microparticles safe for injection. Kheir said “The effort was truly multidisciplinary. It took chemical engineers, particle scientists and medical doctors to get the mix just right.”
They used a sonicator – a device which emits high-intensity sound waves to mix lipids and oxygen together. Oxygen gas gets trapped inside tiny particles, about two to four micrometers in size – too small to see with the naked eye. They found that a solution in which 70% of the volume consisted of oxygen was just right for human blood.
In previous studies in the early 1900s, scientists attempted to oxygenate blood with intravenous oxygen, but they failed. Sometimes they caused fatal gas embolisms.
reference: Copyright: Medical News Today
Where can I holiday?
The world is your oyster. However, you may need to think about the following factors before travelling:
Climate: many people with lung conditions prefer warm climates that have salty air. Lower oxygen levels at higher altitudes can make breathing difficulties worse.
Terrain: whether your destination is flat or on a hill could affect your ability to get around comfortably.
Special needs, such as oxygen treatment.
Flying with a lung condition
Many people believe their lung condition will prevent them from flying. This is not necessarily true. First, ask your doctor whether you can travel by plane. Most people with a lung condition can go on planes, even if they need oxygen. If you use oxygen therapy, you should ask your doctor if you might need additional oxygen on the plane.
Once your doctor has given you the go-ahead, contact individual airlines to discuss your requirements and to find out what their policy is for carrying and using oxygen on planes.
If you are planning a long-haul flight and use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to treat the sleep disorder obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), you should consider whether you might need to use your machine during the flight. Some airlines have restrictions on what machines are permitted for use on board and others may require you to fill in a form before you travel. Many airlines have a medical officer or dedicated unit for disabled passengers or those with special medical needs. Contact the airline before you book to discuss your needs.
Holidaying abroad with oxygen
If you need oxygen for use throughout your holiday, you will need to make arrangements for the oxygen to be provided before you travel.
Some travellers have found that hiring a portable oxygen concentrator (POC) in the UK to take abroad is an alternative to arranging oxygen supplies for the majority of their holiday. However you may still need to consider arranging a back-up supply of oxygen for emergencies. If you are travelling by plane, you should bear in mind that different airlines have different policies for using and carrying oxygen and medical devices such as POCs on board. Always check with the airline you are travelling with before you book.
OxygenWorldwide can help arrange your medical oxygen abroad or portable oxygen concentrator plus take a look at our S.O.S Back up service: www.oxygenworldwide.com
Most travellers with existing medical conditions are able to fly without difficulty. However, occasionally certain precautions need to be taken.
A fitness to fly form is required to be completed when:
- Fitness to travel is in doubt as a result of recent illness, hospitalisation, injury or surgery
- If you have an existing unstable medical condition
- You wish to use medical equipment or therapeutic oxygen on-board
Most medical cases are straightforward, but some require individual assessment. In certain cases, we may ask that you and your doctor complete a “Fitness to Fly’ Form.
Carriage of a POC:
Passengers carrying a POC should obtain a Medical Equipment Approval & Baggage Waiver letter. This approval & waiver letter must be presented at the Bag Drop desk or at the boarding gate if travelling with no checked baggage.
Use of POC during Flight:
If you wish to use a POC during flight, for the use onboard you will be required to complete a ‘Fit to Fly’ form which will be sent to the passenger once the requirement has been notified. This completed “Fit to Fly’ form must be returned between 14 up to 2 days prior to travel for validation. The validated “Fit to Fly form must be carried by the passenger on all flights and produced to our cabin crew on boarding the aircraft.
If the POC is to be used onboard it is the passenger’s responsibility to ensure that they have a sufficient number of fully charged batteries for the duration of the flight and any possible delays, as POC or batteries cannot be charged on board.
Individual airline carriers have their own regulations please check before booking departure for full details.
For an example:
Please see below list of models approved for carriage on Ryanair flights:
For those with diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema or chronic bronchitis, supplemental medical oxygen is a necessity. If you have ever tried to travel with supplemental oxygen, you know how difficult this can be. Being prepared, and knowing how to travel safely with oxygen and where to obtain oxygen at your final destination is vital.
Always check with your doctor and your oxygen company before traveling.
Safety is a very important issue when traveling by car, as an oxygen tank can become a dangerous projectile in an accident. It is crucial to secure the unit. Your oxygen company can provide you with information about safe ways to store and protect your particular oxygen unit in a vehicle.
Portable oxygen concentrators — which form oxygen by extracting and separating it from the surrounding air, and deliver it through a nasal cannula — may be stored in any position, but they should be padded to protect them from impact.
Small cylinder tanks holding compressed oxygen in gas form can also be stowed in any position, but the valve on top and the liter flow knob must be protected from collision through use of a seatbelt, webbing or other such device.
All unit types should be protected from heat, so they should not be stored in a car’s trunk, where extreme heat build-up can occur. In case of a fire, additional oxygen causes a fire to burn more rapidly, so always keep a car window open at least a crack to prevent the accumulation of more than the normal amount of oxygen. When refilling oxygen tanks at an outdoor facility, always remove the tanks from your car and place them in a well-ventilated area.
Travel by airplane also takes a good amount of research and preparation. No airline will allow you to bring aboard your own oxygen cylinder, but many airlines have medical oxygen cylinders available for a fee for use on their planes, such as Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Continental, Delta and Japan Airlines. The oxygen containers used on airplanes vary from airline to airline.
You must make arrangements to provide your own oxygen to and from the airplane. It is helpful to have someone take you to the airport and allow him or her to take your tank home.
Many airlines, such as Alaska Airlines, Delta, Frontier and Southwest, now allow travelers to bring aboard their own portable oxygen concentrators, but the airlines permit only the brands Inogen One or AirSep LifeStyle.
You must have enough fully charged batteries to last the entire flight and to allow for possible delays, as electricity will not be provided on the airplane. The way in which extra batteries must be stored varies from airline to airline. Contact your airline to obtain their regulations for battery storage.
You will also need to contact your airline to learn their requirements for advance notification of your need for medical oxygen. Many airlines will need a letter from your physician in advance of the flight, so they can contact him or her to verify liter flow. The letter should have a date of no more than one year prior to the flight (some airlines require a letter dated no more than 10 days prior to the flight), stating the amount of oxygen needed and the flow rate, adjusted to cabin pressure.
It is important to make advance arrangements for the delivery of oxygen to the airport of your destination. Almost all airlines require a 48-hour advance notice for domestic flights, and airlines can require up to 72 hours advance notice for international travel.
Many cruise lines allow you to bring your own oxygen, and they allow all types. Some will accept deliveries from medical-supply companies, while others only allow certain companies to deliver. You will need to contact the customer service department of the cruise line for the regulations on each ship.
When traveling by train, contact the customer service department to obtain regulations about traveling with medical oxygen.
In Europe, the rules and regulations for oxygen use on Eurail vary from country to country. There is no one place to find the information for a trip that takes you from country to country. Your best bet is to contact the customer service department of the railroad in each country you will be traveling through. You can find this information on the Eurail Website.
Being well prepared will make your travels much more enjoyable.