Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties.

What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) includes:

  • emphysema – damage to the air sacs in the lungs
  • chronic bronchitis – long-term inflammation of the airways

COPD is a common condition that mainly affects middle-aged or older adults who smoke. Many people do not realise they have it.

The breathing problems tend to get gradually worse over time and can limit your normal activities, although treatment can help keep the condition under control.

Frequently asked questions

The main symptoms of COPD are:

  • increasing breathlessness, particularly when you’re active
  • a persistent chesty cough with phlegm – some people may dismiss this as just a “smoker’s cough”
  • frequent chest infections
  • persistent wheezing

Without treatment, the symptoms usually get progressively worse. There may also be periods when they get suddenly worse, known as a flare-up or exacerbation.

COPD reduces quality of life for the patient and puts a considerable financial strain on the health care provider as the condition is challenging to identify. Misdiagnosis and multiple unnecessary and costly clinical investigations and interventions are common.

COPD is largely a preventable condition. You can significantly reduce your chances of developing it if you avoid smoking.

If you already smoke, stopping can help prevent further damage to your lungs before it starts to cause troublesome symptoms.

Where does SLP fit in all of this?

Differences in tidal breathing patterns have been reported between patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and healthy individuals using traditional measurement techniques. This feasibility study examined whether structured light plethysmography (SLP) – a non-contact, light-based technique – could also detect differences in tidal breathing patterns between patients with COPD and healthy subjects.

Read the article

in 2021 we will be carrying out a pivotal clinical study focusing on COPD


The current Covid-19 pandemic presents wider political and social benefits associated with developing a diagnostic and monitoring tool for DB.

Although most Covid-19 infections are mild, the extent and severity of the long-term respiratory complications of Covid-19 infection are seen in a significant proportion of patients (approximately 65.9% in patients admitted to ICU and 42.6 % in patients admitted to general ward or outpatient from an early observational study).

As we have seen from the evidence derived from the 2003 and 2011 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), the Covid pandemic will likely require significant health resources long after it ends.

However, we do not know yet what proportion of the patients will suffer from them or for how long. Hence the demand for specialised post-Covid clinics to help survivors deal with debilitating lung conditions has increased, and we believe that our device can potentially provide valuable information to diagnose lung diseases for patients who present with breathless symptoms.