At-home spirometry can help patients with LAM and other lung diseases keep track of their lung function.

What you need to know

The COVID-19 pandemic has limited regular visits to the doctor, which can make it difficult for patients with lung disease to keep track of their lung health. People with a rare lung disease called lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) have to visit their doctors regularly to monitor how well their lungs are working. This is often done using a spirometry test.  

To help bridge this gap, researchers are studying whether at-home spirometry tests can effectively measure how well the lungs are working.

What are researchers doing?

Two NIH-funded clinical trials are testing different treatments for LAM. These trials have patients regularly test their lung function with home spirometers. Spirometers test lung health by measuring how much air someone can breathe in and out.

The spirometers used in these studies have special programming that guides patients during the breathing test and tells them the quality of their measurement. Researchers will study the accuracy of at-home testing and the willingness of people with LAM to consistently test their own lung function when they are not coming into the doctor’s office.

Why is this research important?

The COVID-19 pandemic has limited regular doctor’s office visits. It has also raised safety concerns about the visits that do occur. For example, people using spirometers could spew infectious particles into the air. Patients with other chronic lung diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, already use home spirometry to monitor their condition. A guided at-home spirometer, like the one used in this study, could reduce visits to the doctor and help people with LAM and other chronic lung diseases better track their lung health. These spirometers could also help people who are recovering from COVID-19 to monitor their lung function as part of their recovery.

Where can I go to learn more?

LAM

  • Read the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Health Topic about LAM, including information about causes, treatment, and living with LAM.

Learn About Spirometry

  • Watch a video about spirometry testing.

Pulmonary Function Tests

  • Learn about pulmonary function tests, including spirometry, from NHLBI.

Resveratrol and Sirolimus in Lymphangioleiomyomatosis Trial (RESULT)

  • Learn more about this NIH-funded study and who is able to participate in it.

Multicenter Interventional Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) Early Disease Trial (MILED)

  • Learn more about this NIH-funded study and who is able to participate in it.

Sources

NHLBI. (2021). At-home monitoring devices, tools play leading role in patient care during pandemic. Retrieved February 10, 2021, from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/news/2021/home-monitoring-devices-tools-play-leading-role-patient-care-during-pandemic.

Torres-Castro, R., Vasconcello-Castillo, L.., Alsina-Restoy, X., Solis-Navarro, L., Burgos, F., Puppo, H., & Vilaró, J. (2020). Respiratory function in patients post-infection by COVID-19: a systemic review and meta-analysis. Pulmonology, S2531-0437(20)30245-2. Advance online publication.

University of Cincinnati Medical Center. (2017). Home spirometry is the future of monitoring lung disease progression in LAM patients. Retrieved February 10, 2021, from https://www.uchealth.com/pulmonary-insights/home-spirometry-is-the-future-of-monitoring-lung-disease-progression-in-lam-patients/.

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