Researchers have discovered a new procedure that could ease breathing difficulties for patients suffering from emphysema.
Pete Fuller from Southampton took part in a clinical trial of the treatment.
The 68 yea old retired HGV driver said he used to smoke close to 40 cigarettes a day. He first started noticing his breathlessness in 2005 but never paid any attention to it even though he knew it came from him smoking cigarettes.
In 2014, he had a severe chest infection and had to be hospitalised. He was advised by a doctor at Southampton General that he would not live much longer if he did not quit smoking.
Pete was soon diagnosed with emphysema, which his father had passed away from. It’s basically where your lung tissue dies off because of the damage from smoking; air gets trapped in the tiny damaged air sacs in your lungs, so they can’t pull in oxygen and push out carbon dioxide as normal.
He was given 10 weeks worth of nicotine patches and told that he had the lungs of a 150-year-old.
Then came the hardships of living life with a respiratory disease. A normal chore like mowing the lawn would take him two days rather than two hours. Pete also had to rely on an oxygen tank for at least 16 hours a day.
However, later that year, he was referred to a respiratory specialist who was overseeing a trial of a new procedure.
This procedure was called RePneu and it involved placing tiny metal coils into the lungs so that they would compress the diseased areas, thus allowing the healthy parts to work more efficiently.
As soon as the procedure was completed, Pete discovered an immediate change in his breathing.
He went home the next morning and was rushing around vacuuming and gardening straight away like an over-excited toddler.
Six weeks later, an X-ray showed the right lung was functioning as normal, but the left had deteriorated, so he went back in to have coils in the left lung in July.
Before this, he would need to go on oxygen after a ten-minute conversation, but now he can chat to my neighbours for 25 minutes without getting breathless.
Find out more about RePneu and read Pete’s full story from The Dailymail here.