One of the most effective methods of alleviating the breathlessness common in COPD sufferers during exertion is the technique known as “pursed lip breathing.” However, the panic of breathlessness often disconnects the sufferer from the technique. A simple device appears to effectively replicate the benefits of pursed lip breathing, while making the technique easier and more accessible during a breathless episode.
Known as PEP (positive expiratory pressure) Buddy, the device was shown to be effective in a pilot study, but ideally follow-up studies should be performed. The PEP Buddy is the height of simplicity—basically a simple plastic mouthpiece on a lanyard that COPD patients can hang from their neck for use when necessary.
Using PEP Buddy
The device is used when walking up stairs or performing other acts of exertion that lead to breathlessness. The method for relief involves three simple steps.
- Hold. Place the plastic PEP Buddy mouthpiece between the lips.
- Breathe in. Breathe in through the nose as large an intake as possible.
- Breathe out. Create a tight seal around the mouthpiece with your lips and breathe out through the hole in the mouthpiece.
The PEP Buddy should be washed with soap and warm water after each use. As with any technique or device used for COPD, consult with your primary caregiver prior to using the PEP Buddy. You can learn more about the PEP on the company’s website.