Cedars-Sinai

Improving Lung Capacity Pre- and Post-COVID-19

Two Cedars-Sinai Respiratory Therapists Offer Insight Into the Toll of COVID-19 on the Lungs and How Non-Patients Can Improve Their Respiratory Health

Newswise — LOS ANGELES (June 26, 2020) -- For many patients admitted to the hospital with COVID-19, surviving the virus is only half of the battle. Once deemed virus-free and ready to be sent home, the often-long road to recovery – including rebuilding lung capacity and overall respiratory health – begins. 

Two Cedars-Sinai respiratory therapists explain what roadblocks these hospital-admitted patients face when it comes to lung health and offer tips for non-patients looking to improve their overall respiratory health. 

"Patients with COVID-19 tend to be sicker for much longer than other patients with respiratory-related illnesses and, on average, stay on a ventilator for a longer duration," said Dagoberto Naranjo, RRT, a respiratory therapist in the Department of Respiratory Therapy at Cedars-Sinai.

These ventilated patients also take longer to react, or benefit from, oxygenation efforts, according to Naranjo. 

"When patients are intubated for long periods, it's usually because they have accompanying or underlying medical conditions," said Naranjo. "Patients who are healthy usually are intubated only to get them over the hump of requiring high levels of oxygen. This virus has proved to be unique, requiring different techniques and treatments than traditional standards of care." 

Because of the high levels of oxygen these patients require, coupled with the length of time they rely on ventilation, the road to a full recovery after leaving the hospital can be long for some patients.

"Although most patients recover without long-term effects, some patients experience persistent symptoms after discharge," said Christina Rogers, RRT, also a respiratory therapist in the Department of Respiratory Therapy. "These symptoms include difficulty breathing, fatiguing easily and experiencing weakness due to their limited ability to participate in regular physical activity."

To combat these symptoms, Rogers and Naranjo suggest patients be sent home with an incentive spirometer device, which measures how deeply an individual can breathe in, and helps encourage taking slow, deep breaths to increase lung capacity. 

"This tool can also help prevent secondary lung problems, such as pneumonia," said Rogers. 

The therapists also recommend that patients focus on nutrition to increase energy levels, and if deemed appropriate by a physician, incorporate mild exercise, such as walks, into their daily routines. 

For healthy people without COVID-19, Rogers and Naranjo say it's never a bad idea to increase overall lung capacity and improve overall respiratory health.

"Don't underestimate the practice of simple deep breathing," said Rogers. "Most people only use a small part of their lung capacity. By increasing the length of your inhalations and exhalations, you can increase your lung capacity and strengthen your breathing, which improves the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, ultimately improving lung capacity."

Cardio workouts are also recommended to improve respiratory health.

"To improve lung capacity, cardio workouts, like speed-walking, jump rope, stationary bike-riding or running can make a big impact," said Naranjo. "However, every patient – including healthy individuals without COVID-19 – should consult a doctor to ensure their physical limitations aren't pushed to the extreme."




Filters close

Showing results

1120 of 3409
Released: 25-Sep-2020 10:50 AM EDT
COVID-19 Spurs Anxious, Upsetting Dreams
American Psychological Association (APA)

The anxiety, stress and worry brought on by COVID-19 is not limited to daytime hours. The pandemic is affecting our dreams as well, infusing more anxiety and negative emotions into dreams and spurring dreams about the virus itself, particularly among women, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

Released: 25-Sep-2020 10:15 AM EDT
Risk Communication Expert Offers Public Health Guide to COVID-19 Retweets
University at Albany, State University of New York

Researchers analyzed 150,000 tweets about COVID-19 from about 700 state and local agencies between February and April 2020 to see what factors led to the most retweets.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 30-Sep-2020 8:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 25-Sep-2020 10:00 AM EDT

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 30-Sep-2020 8:00 AM EDT The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Newswise: World Lung Day 2020: Respiratory Groups Call for Research to Prevent, Detect and Treat Respiratory Infections
Released: 25-Sep-2020 9:45 AM EDT
World Lung Day 2020: Respiratory Groups Call for Research to Prevent, Detect and Treat Respiratory Infections
American Thoracic Society (ATS)

Today, on World Lung Day (WLD), the American Thoracic Society is united with members of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) and WLD partner organizations to advocate for respiratory health globally and call for more research to prevent, detect and treat respiratory infections.

Newswise: Diaphragm Pacing can Enhance Recovery and
Weaning from Mechanical Ventilation in Cardiac Surgery, Small Series Concludes
Released: 25-Sep-2020 8:55 AM EDT
Diaphragm Pacing can Enhance Recovery and Weaning from Mechanical Ventilation in Cardiac Surgery, Small Series Concludes
University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center

Surgeons at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center have improved the prognosis of several cardiac patients after emergency FDA approval of a diaphragm pacing device.


Showing results

1120 of 3409

close
1.38946