Monaghan’s Aerobika Slashes Healthcare Costs, Exacerbations in COPD Patients

Patrícia Silva, PhD avatar

by Patrícia Silva, PhD |

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Using Monaghan Medical’s Aerobika device as part of a treatment regimen may help reduce emergency room visits, hospital re-admissions and related costs, as well as the recurrence of exacerbations in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The study reporting these findings, “A Real-World Study of 30-Day Exacerbation Outcomes in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Patients Managed with Aerobika OPEP,” appeared in the journal Pulmonary Therapy.

COPD affects about 30 million Americans and leads to 700,000 hospitalizations a year; the disease is expected to cost $49 billion a year by 2020. It is often associated with exacerbations, which represent the most frequent causes for medical visits, hospital admissions, early re-admissions, and death in patients with COPD. About 23 percent of patients discharged from the hospital following an exacerbation are re-admitted within 30 days.

The Aerobika device alleviates symptoms associated with excessive mucus in the airways. It opens up the lungs and creates vibrations in the chest, helping people expel mucus through the upper airways when they cough. In COPD patients, the device has been shown to significantly reduce exacerbations after one month of use, in combination with COPD medications.

 The new study measured the rate of early (30-day) moderate-to-severe exacerbations and related costs in 405 COPD patients treated with Aerobika, compared to a matched control group of 405 patients who did not use any positive expiratory pressure device. Patients used the Aerobika device in addition to their regular COPD treatment. Exacerbation was defined as a hospital admission or an emergency department visit with a diagnosis for chronic bronchitis or COPD.

At 30 days, 18.5 percent of the patients using the Aerobika Oscillating Positive Expiratory Pressure (OPEP) device had a moderate-to-severe exacerbation, compared to 25.7 percent in the control group. Furthermore, 13.8 percent of Aerobika users had a severe exacerbation, compared to 19 percent of controls.

The mean per patient cost of moderate-to-severe exacerbations ($2,975) in the group of Aerobika users was 34 percent lower than in the control group ($6,065), meaning that using the device saves thousands of dollars in hospital bills.

“This is the first study to evaluate the benefits of any OPEP in a real-world setting. It provides encouraging evidence that the Aerobika device can help reduce recurrence of exacerbations in high-risk patients over the crucial early 30-day period,” pulmonary physician Michael Bauer of Cooperstown, New York, said in a news release.

“During an exacerbation, airways are compromised by (among other factors) inflammation and mucus build-up. This can continue to disrupt ventilation mechanics and lung function after the event, and lead to prolonged respiratory impairment,” said Dominic Coppolo, Monaghan’s vice-president for clinical strategy and development. “The Aerobika device, with its proprietary mechanism of action, helps stent open and clear excess mucus from the upper airways, and may also aid drug deposition, providing a potential mechanism of protection from exacerbations.”

The GOLD guidelines recommend that one of the major goals in COPD treatment is to “minimize the negative impact of the current exacerbation and to prevent subsequent events.” A recent study predicts that by 2030, COPD cases will increase by 150 to 220 percent, with the burden of inpatient care (total annual inpatient days) growing by 185 percent. This further emphasizes the need to address the burden of COPD exacerbations.