Back in 2015, I wrote a two article series on the use of a technique, called pursed-lip breathing, to help relieve the shortness of breath COPD patients experience on exertion when they are breathing rapidly. The reason for the increased shortness of breath is due to “air trapping”. The narrowed airway in COPD patients does not allow full emptying of the lungs after each breath and a small amount of air remains in the lungs after each breath leading to hyperinfl ation. The patient feels there is no room to breathe. No medication is really helpful at this time and the technique of pursed-lip breathing is the best approach to relieve symptoms. Barriers to the use of pursed-lip breathing include, forgetfulness and panic when symptoms arise, improper technique and embarrassment, and selfconsciousness when in public.
I have tried to teach this technique to many of my patients over the years, but I know they do not use it when the time comes. I have invented a device which I call the PursedLip Breathing Device (PBD). It is a small fl ow restrictor which can be worn on a lanyard around the neck or kept in the pocket. Blowing into it simulates the pursed-lip breathing technique. You can see this device on the back inside cover of the 6th edition of Breathe Magazine, or stop in and pick up information at the Lung Center. You can also see it on our website, thelungspecialists.com. Come in for instructions on using this device.