The research, “Cost-Effective Analysis of Using High Frequency Chest Wall Oscillation (HFCWO) in Patients with Non-Cystic Fibrosis Bronchiectasis,” was published in Respiratory Therapy: The Journal of Pulmonary Technique.
Bronchiectasis is a chronic progressive disease characterized by irreversible dilation of pulmonary bronchi, or airways to the lungs. Treatments for bronchiectasis are aimed at mobilizing airway secretions, reducing inflammation, preventing respiratory infections, enhancing ventilation — or the exchange of gases while breathing — minimizing the severity of disease episodes, and improving a person’s quality of life.
One treatment is high-frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO), which compresses and releases the chest wall, sending a gust of air through the respiratory system. The goal is to trigger the release of mucus from the lung’s wall, eliminating it from the body and clearing the airways.
The estimated annual cost of care for American bronchiectasis patients was $13,244 in 2001, according to a study. That number was much greater than the annual cost of many other chronic diseases, such as heart disease — $12,000 — and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) — $11,000.
In addition, a study published in 2005 showed that non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis patients spent an average of two additional days per year in the hospital, had 6.1 additional outpatient visits, and 27.2 more days of antibiotic therapy than patients without the disease. Also in 2005, the global treatment costs for non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis were reported to be $630 million.
Researchers took data from a previous study of 59 patients with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis who used the SmartVest (an HFCWO vest) to estimate cost savings the device generated. They said the SmartVest system led to a 58 percent decrease in antibiotic costs, a 63 percent decrease in emergency room visit costs, and a 60 percent decrease in hospitalization costs. Patients also reported a 68 percent improvement in their quality of life.
SmartVest reduced annual hospitalization-related costs by $2,790 per patient, according to researchers’ analysis. It reduced overall costs by $3,045 per year, per patient, they added.
“Electromed is committed to ‘making life’s important moments possible – one breath at a time’, helping people around the world breathe better, stay healthier, and lead active and fulfilling lives,” Kathleen Skarvan, president and chief executive officer of Electromed, said in a press release. “These results provide an opportunity to share evidence with the patients we serve and clinicians that consistently using the SmartVest system can reduce the number of hospitalizations and clinic visits, and save significant healthcare costs.”
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