Fortis receives ATS Foundation grant

Spyridon Fortis, MD, clinical assistant professor in Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Occupational Medicine, has received a two-year, $100,000 grant from the American Thoracic Society (ATS) Foundation in partnership with Fisher & Paykel Healthcare. Fortis will use these funds, pending IRB approval, to research the effect of prolonged heated, humidified high-flow air on people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic bronchitis.

“Patients with COPD have exacerbations of their disease. Severe exacerbations require hospitalization, which makes up the largest proportion of the total direct health care costs of the disease—a significant burden for patients and family,” Fortis said.

Chronic bronchitis can develop with COPD, doubling the chances of COPD exacerbations and hospitalization. While there is no current treatment for people with COPD and chronic bronchitis, a previous study revealed that using humidified, heated high-flow air devices on people with COPD 1.6 hours a day improved their symptoms. Fortis’ study plans to expand on these findings, using heated high-flow air on people with COPD for an extended period of time.

“COPD patients with chronic bronchitis have worse health-related quality of life and poor quality of sleep,” Fortis said. “We will examine whether heated, humidified high-flow air during sleep for 6 weeks will improve patient symptoms, quality of life and sleep, exercise capacity, lung function, and reduce air trapping relative to usual care. Heated, humidified high-flow air may be an alternative treatment for COPD patients with chronic bronchitis.”

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