INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — About 12.5 million Americans have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. With COPD, the air sacs in the lungs are damaged, obstructing their ability to stretch and shrink to allow airflow.

A team of physicians from the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine have developed a non-invasive device to help those with COPD breathe easier that simulates pursed lip breathing, which helps create air pressure in the lungs.

While current treatments include a rescue inhaler, steroids, and even patients learning pursed lip breathing, Dr. Ralph Panos and his researchers have developed a device called the positive expiratory pressure, or PEP Buddy.

“It’s just simply placed in the mouth, one breath in through the nose, and then out through the device. That resistance to airflow creates the back pressure, which relieves the air trapping and dynamic hyperinflation,” Panos said, demonstrating the PEP Buddy’s purpose.

Current research says there are many benefits of slow breathing and exhalation. Now, the PEP Buddy is here to help.

Researchers are in the process of having the PEP Buddy approved by the Federal Drug Administration. Once approved, it will be available for consumer purchase.

The PEP buddy is currently being sold for $25 and is not covered by insurance.

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