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New report: Implantable and Wearable Medical Devices for COPD

New report: Implantable and Wearable Medical Devices for COPD

Wearable technology could give hope to some 3 million people living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), according to a new report produced by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in collaboration with the Hamlyn Centre, Imperial College London.

COPD describes a group of lung conditions that make it difficult to empty air out of the lungs because the airways have been narrowed. In the UK alone 1.2 million people live with diagnosed COPD, yet millions of people still remain undiagnosed – the ‘missing millions’ range between 1.8 – 2 million in the UK alone.  

The report, Implantable and Wearable Medical Devices for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, highlights new technologies that have the potential to improve patient lives, from diagnosis, treatment, to rehabilitation.

Handing control to patients

COPD patients often experience 'flare-ups' of their condition (known as exacerbations) caused by triggers such as bacteria, viruses and pollutants which inflame the airways.  A simple portable device could allow patients to assess their condition at home and help identify when their condition is worsening.

Professor Guang-Zhong Yang, CBE, Imperial College London, said:

"COPD is a significant burden not only to patients but also to the economy and society as a whole. Implantable and wearable medical devices are the future of medicine, and with the emerging trend for personalised care they have the potential to improve patient health and save the NHS money."

Anthony de-Soyza, National Specialty Lead for Respiratory Disorders for the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network, said:

"Implantable and wearable medical devices are an exciting development in COPD and offer hope to some 3 million people living with the disease. These new technologies have the potential to hand greater control to patients with COPD and their carers, and empower them to better manage what can be such a debilitating condition. It is only through researching these and finding their role in COPD that we can make such important progress."