Advances in Remote Respiratory Assessments for People with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Systematic Review

Baroi Sidney, McNamara Renae J., McKenzie David K., Gandevia Simon
, and Brodie Matthew A.
Published Online:1 Jun 2018https://doi.org/10.1089/tmj.2017.0160

Background:Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a leading cause of mortality. Advances in remote technologies and telemedicine provide new ways to monitor respiratory function and improve chronic disease management. However, telemedicine does not always include remote respiratory assessments, and the current state of knowledge for people with COPD has not been evaluated.

Objective:Systematically review the use of remote respiratory assessments in people with COPD, including the following questions: What devices have been used? Can acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD) be predicted by using remote devices? Do remote respiratory assessments improve health-related outcomes?

Materials and Methods:The review protocol was registered (PROSPERO 2016:CRD42016049333). MEDLINE, EMBASE, and COMPENDEX databases were searched for studies that included remote respiratory assessments in people with COPD. A narrative synthesis was then conducted by two reviewers according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines.

Results:Fifteen studies met the inclusion criteria. Forced expiratory volume assessed daily by using a spirometer was the most common modality. Other measurements included resting respiratory rate, respiratory sounds, and end-tidal carbon dioxide level. Remote assessments had high user satisfaction. Benefits included early detection of AECOPD, improved health-related outcomes, and the ability to replace hospital care with a virtual ward.

Conclusion:Remote respiratory assessments are feasible and when combined with sufficient organizational backup can improve health-related outcomes in some but not all cohorts. Future research should focus on the early detection, intervention, and rehabilitation for AECOPD in high-risk people who have limited access to best care and investigate continuous as well as intermittent monitoring.

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