How to Help Your Patients Outsmart Bronchiectasis

bronchiectasis resources, hfcwo therapyBronchiectasis (brong-kee-EK-tuh-sis) is an irreversible chronic lung condition where a patient’s airways become damaged and abnormally widened from recurring inflammation or infection. Through a vicious cycle, airways are repeatedly damaged, causing the lungs to slowly lose their ability to mobilize and clear mucus. This leaves the body more susceptible to respiratory infections, and over time, patients may experience worsened symptoms that can affect their quality of life. Although chronic cough, shortness of breath, and respiratory infections are common signs of bronchiectasis, these symptoms are also characteristics of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), according to the American Lung Association.


An Underdeveloped Area of Study

Though bronchiectasis awareness has gained momentum in recent years, non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis continues to be an underdeveloped area of study. And because this particular chronic lung disease shares symptoms with COPD, many bronchiectasis patients continue to be underdiagnosed and suffer from a repeating cycle of airway infection, inflammation, and damage. In fact, reported cases of bronchiectasis have increased approximately 9% annually since 20001 and prevalence of bronchiectasis in patients with COPD has been estimated to range from 27% to 57%2-5. Further, many studies of patients with COPD revealed that the presence of bronchiectasis was associated with reduced lung function, more frequent exacerbations, and increased mortality versus those with COPD alone.6

bronchiectasis resources, hfcwo therapy

While bronchiectasis and COPD share common characteristics, it’s important to recognize the differences and provide an accurate diagnosis for your patients. And although bronchiectasis is incurable and, if left unmanaged, can lead to a rapid decline in health, its symptoms can be effectively treated.


A Better Way to Manage Bronchiectasis:

Bronchiectasis patients often receive an ongoing regimen of treatments to improve bronchial drainage and manage recurrent pulmonary exacerbations. However, these treatments are often insufficient to stop the cycle of bronchiectasis for some patients, which is when HFCWO (high frequency chest wall oscillation) therapy via the SmartVest Airway Clearance System may offer relief.

The SmartVest Airway Clearance System is designed to offer patients living with bronchiectasis, an effective, comfortable, and cost-savings solution to their airway clearance therapy. It works by delivering rapidly repeating pulses of air that squeeze and release the upper body. These gentle, yet powerful “mini coughs” loosen, thin, and propel mucus towards major airways where it can be more readily coughed out or suctioned away.


A Reduction in Bronchiectasis-Related Exacerbations and Healthcare Use:

In spring 2018, a longitudinal outcome-based study demonstrated a reduction in bronchiectasis-related exacerbations after long-term use (2.5 years) of the SmartVest Airway Clearance System. Patients experienced a 42% decrease in hospitalizations, a 38% reduction in antibiotic therapy, and a 75% decrease in hospital visits due to severe exacerbations when compared to prior treatment.

bronchiectasis resources, hfcwo therapy

More recently, an independent, outcome-based clinical study—presented during the third annual World Bronchiectasis Conference in Washington D.C.—revealed that early use of HFCWO therapy using SmartVest significantly reduced severe exacerbations among non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis patients, when used as part of a care bundle. The study also demonstrated stabilization of key lung function parameters, suggesting early bronchiectasis treatment may significantly slow disease progression.

Furthermore, according to the results of a cost effectiveness analysis, SmartVest users experienced a 58% decrease in antibiotic cost, a 63% decrease in emergency visit cost, and a 60% decrease in hospitalization cost. By comparing the projected costs associated with prescription refills and recurring hospital and emergency visits, this cost analysis demonstrated that patients using the SmartVest system, as part of their bronchiectasis treatment, could save $3,045 per year.

bronchiectasis resources, hfcwo therapy

A Simple Solution to Airway Clearance:

To help prescribers streamline the prescription process, the dedicated support team at Electromed will process all insurance information on your patients’ behalf and provide them with a single point of contact to help manage the reimbursement process. The SmartVest system is covered by private insurance, Medicare, state medical assistance, a combination of all three, or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition, all SmartVest users receive a lifetime warranty on SmartVest generators, garments, and accessories, and after receiving their SmartVest system, a licensed medical professional will come to their home and provide one-on-one training to ensure they are comfortable and knowledgeable on how to perform each treatment independently.

bronchiectasis resources, smartvest supportIn addition to providing patients with unrivaled support, Electromed works collaboratively with healthcare teams to help meet each patient’s needs for HFCWO therapy. And, patients can contact Electromed’s care team 365 days a year from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CST for technical and support questions.


A Smart Fit for Your Patients

For prescribers who are interested in learning more about the SmartVest system and how it helps patients manage their bronchiectasis-related symptoms, contact us by phone at (800) 462-1045 or complete our clinician support form online.


1 Seitz, A. E., et al. 2012. Trends in Bronchiectasis Among Medicare Beneficiaries in the United States, 2000 to 2007. Chest, 142(2), 432–439
2 Martínez-García, M.A., et al. Prognostic Value of Bronchiectasis in Patients with Moderate-to-Severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2013;187(8):823–31.
3 Patel I.S., et al. Bronchiectasis, exacerbation indices, and inflammation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2004;170:400-7.
4 O’Brien C, et al. Physiological and radiological characterisation of patients diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in primary care. Thorax. 2000;55:635-42.
5 Bafadhel M, et al. The role of CT scanning in multidimensional phenotyping of COPD. Chest. 2011;140:634-42.
6 Chalmers J.D. and Sethi S. Raising awareness of bronchiectasis in primary care: overview of diagnosis and management strategies in adults. NPJ Prim Care Respir Med. 2017;27:18.