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A new report by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and Imperial College London’s Hamlyn Centre in the UK highlights the potential of wearable and implantable technologies to improve the daily lives of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Hamlyn Centre director Guang-Zhong Yang and NIHR Respiratory Disorders national specialty lead Dr Anthony De Soyza believe that such devices could allow better management of the condition.

The new generation technologies are expected to comprise portable devices that could detect worsening of the disease and allow patients to receive at-home treatment.

Researchers also reported the use of smart textiles that feature circuits and sensors inserted into fabrics to monitor and detect changes in the amount of air that is inhaled, exhaled and stored in the lungs.

“Such medical devices are intended to minimise the decline in lung function and lower the cost of hospital stays.”

Implantable technologies such as endobronchial valves and coils are also said to eliminate the need for highly invasive surgery by offering better lung mechanics and improving symptoms.

In addition to treatment at home, such medical devices are intended to minimise the decline in lung function and lower the cost of hospital stays, which is estimated to be more than £800m per year for COPD.

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The researchers also highlight the need for comfortable, easy-to-use and cost-effective devices with reliability and ability to provide accurate information needed to improve diagnosis and treatment.

They added that more clinical studies are required to validate the safety and other characteristics of the devices before their implementation in clinical practice.