Latest in Pulmonary News

Latest in Pulmonary News2019-02-15T07:28:32-05:00

What exercises can help increase lung capacity?

The lungs are responsible for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide that keep the brain, heart, and other parts of the body healthy. Age, smoking, inhaling pollutants, and other factors can affect lung function.
People cannot necessarily change their lung capacity in terms of how much oxygen their lungs can hold. However, they can perform exercises that may reduce shortness of breath when they have a lower lung function than is desirable. An example could be someone who has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

A person should always talk to their doctor before starting any exercise program, including breathing exercises. This is especially true if they have an underlying condition such as COPD.

Pursed lip breathing

Pursed lip breathing is an exercise that can help to keep the airways open for longer to help air flow. The exercise is easy to perform, and people can do it almost anywhere. To do pursed lip breathing:

  • Sit up straight. Practicing good posture can help promote better lung movement.
  • Breathe in deeply through your nose in a slow, controlled fashion.
  • Purse your lips, which is much like making a “kissing” face where your lips are almost, but not quite, touching.
  • Breathe out through your pursed lips, making a goal of breathing out twice as long as breathing in. Some people may find it beneficial to set a timer, such as focusing on breathing in for 5 seconds and exhaling for 10 seconds.

This exercise can be helpful for someone who is not as physically active as some others and may not be using their breathing muscles as frequently. Those with COPD can also benefit from performing this exercise.

Belly breathing

Belly breathing is an exercise that focuses on targeting and strengthening the diaphragm muscle that allows a person to take a deep breath. People can follow these steps to accomplish this exercise:

  • Rest your hand or another lightweight object on your stomach.
  • Breathe in slowly through your nose to note how your stomach rises and falls when breathing.
  • Breathe out through your mouth.
  • Breathe in through your nose again, this time trying to get your stomach to go up more than it did with the previous breath.
  • Try to exhale for a much longer time than when you inhale, such as two to three times as long.
  • Periodically, roll your shoulders forward and backward and move your head side to side to ensure you are not building tension in your upper body.

This exercise from the American Lung Association helps to improve the rate at which the lungs fill and empty air. A person can practice belly breathing and pursed lip breathing for about 5 to 10 minutes every day to enhance their lung function.

Interval training

For people who have problems with breathlessness and shortness of breath while exercising, interval training may be a better solution than steady-state exercise. Interval training involves alternating a more challenging exercise with a slower recovery period. Examples include walking at a very fast pace for 1 minute, then walking more slowly for 2 minutes. Similarly, a person may perform a weightlifting activity for 1 minute, such as bicep curls or lunges, then step to the side or walk at a gentle pace for 2 to 3 minutes. Interval training allows the lungs time to recover before challenging them again. Whenever a person is exercising and becomes short of breath, slowing down for a few minutes and performing pursed lip breathing can help. They can continue pursed lip breathing until feelings of breathlessness subside.

Tips for preserving lung health

While lung exercises cannot reverse damage already done to the lungs, they can help a person use their lungs to their best capacity. Exercises are not the only thing a person can do to improve or protect their lung health. Other steps people can take include:

  • refraining from smoking
  • drinking plenty of water
  • staying physically active

If a person has symptoms of poor lung health, such as shortness of breath during daily activities, pain when breathing, or a cough that will not go away, they should see their doctor. The earlier lung problems receive a diagnosis and treatment, the better the treatment outcome is likely to be.


Lung exercises can be beneficial to lung function. Pursed lip breathing and diaphragm breathing are two common focuses for people in pulmonary rehabilitation to improve their lung function.
Before starting any exercise program, including a lung exercise one, it is best to talk to a doctor to ensure there are not any restrictions or individual recommendations for best results.

Author : By Rachel Nall, RN, MSN
Source :

Thirty-Day Hospital Readmission Metric Linked to Increased Mortality for HF and Pneumonia

Physicians are at increased pressure to reduce readmissions for certain chronic diseases. A recent study found that implementation of the 30-day readmission rules has been associated with increased 30-day post-discharge mortality for those hospitalized for heart failure and pneumonia.

Post-discharge deaths have increased by 0.25% for patients hospitalized with heart failure and by 0.40% for patients with pneumonia since the implementation of the 30-day readmission rules.
There are approximately 8 million hospitalizations during the study period. Such small increases may account for a large number of deaths.

The findings, published online in JAMA, come from a retrospective cohort study that compared mortality rates among 8.3 million Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized for these common conditions before and after implementation of the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP). This early data should lead physicians to exercise caution in discharging patients prematurely.

Source: Association of the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program With Mortality Among Medicare Beneficiaries Hospitalized for Heart Failure, Acute Myocardial Infarction, and Pneumonia. JAMA. 2018;320(24):2542-2552. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.19232

Add Corticosteroids to Your Arsenal for the treatment of Inpatient Community-Acquired Pneumonia.

Corticosteroids were both beneficial and cost-effective for hospitalized adults with severe CAP. Hospitalized people with non-severe CAP may also benefit from corticosteroid therapy, but with no survival advantage

In 2015, results of two randomized trials showed that systemic corticosteroids were beneficial for some hospitalized patients with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP; NEJM JW Gen Med Mar 15 2015 and JAMA 2015; 313:677; NEJM JW Gen Med Mar 1 2015 and Lancet 2015; 385:1511). Now, two new meta-analyses — one by the Cochrane Library, and one by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) — address whether CAP patients should receive systemic corticosteroids routinely.

These meta-analyses suggest that low-dose (≈40 mg), short-course (3–7 days) systemic corticosteroids should be strongly considered for hospitalized adults with severe CAP. These results do not apply to outpatients with CAP or to inpatients with hospital-acquired pneumonia or ventilator-associated pneumonia. Several ongoing randomized trials probably will clarify steroid use further for pneumonia indications.

The Cost-effectiveness of Corticosteroids for the treatment of Community-Acquired Pneumonia
Chest. 2018 Nov 15. pii: S0012-3692(18)32727-2. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2018.11.001.

Home oxygen therapy for COPD: Does it matter whether the patient is hypoxemic? Evidence vs Reality

Home oxygen therapy for COPD: Does it matter whether the patient is hypoxemic? Evidence vs Reality?

Long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) is given to improve survival time in people with COPD and severe chronic hypoxemia at rest. The efficacy of oxygen therapy for breathlessness and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in people with COPD and mild or no hypoxemia who do not meet the criteria for LTOT has not been established. Scientific evidence for its benefits of LTOT dates back to the 1980s when two randomized controlled trials showed prolonged survival in COPD-patients undergoing LTOT for at least 15 hours/day. In contrast, the potential benefits of LTOT in non-COPD-patients has not been well researched and the recommendations for its application are primarily extrapolated from trials on COPD-patients.

Recent Cochrane analysis found that oxygen can relieve breathlessness when given during exercise to mildly hypoxaemic and non-hypoxaemic people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who would not otherwise qualify for home oxygen therapy. Findings show that COPD patients without severe hypoxemia undergoing oxygen therapy during exercise training over time do not achieve better exercise capacity or health-related quality of life compared with placebo.

However, LTOT has a beneficial effect on quality of life, dyspnea, and exercise capacity in patients with COPD and exertional hypoxemia.

Oxygen for breathlessness in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who do not qualify for home oxygen therapy

J Bras Pneumol. 2018 Sep-Oct;44(5):390-397. doi: 10.1590/S1806-37562017000000019.
Impact of adherence to long-term oxygen therapy on patients with COPD and exertional hypoxemia followed for one year.

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