A regimen of oxygen inhalation, graded exercise, breathing training, and drugs has increased the capacity for physical activity of patients with severe pulmonary emphysema, reported Dr. Alvin L. Barach, consultant in medicine at Presbyterian Hospital in New York, before the American College of Chest Physicians meeting in Atlantic City last month.
He has found that pulmonary emphysema patients often debilitate due to "excessive rest," which in itself "promotes weakness, cardiovascular insufficiency, and certain adverse biochemical changes, such as loss of nitrogen, calcium, and potassium." While walking ability is "enhanced" by oxygen inhalation, he said, increasing the "efficiency of breathing" is extremely important.
"In the majority of patients with diffuse obstructive pulmonary emphysema, the benefit obtained by the exercise program was especially marked when combined with appropriate breathing training."
Oxygen inhalation, used for many years to "enable dyspneic subjects to walk to the bathroom," was combined with a graded exercise program