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July 9, 1982

Delivering oxygen transtracheally may be a boon for COPD patients

JAMA. 1982;248(2):153-154. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330020003001

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A lightweight, completely portable transtracheal system that delivers oxygen directly into the lungs via a tiny plastic catheter promises to free many patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) from their reliance on cumbersome tanks, nasal cannula, and face masks.

The system, developed by Henry J. Heimlich, MD, professor of advanced clinical sciences at Xavier University, Cincinnati, allows easier breathing, encourages patient mobility, and provides a continuous 24-hour oxygen flow.

Speaking to the annual American Broncho-Esophagological Association meeting in Palm Beach, Fla, Heimlich said that the new system, which requires only a fraction of the oxygen used in other systems, also saves patients money.

Heimlich reported on the first 14 of 21 patients in whom the new transtracheal system has been inserted. Follow-up on the 11 men and three women, aged 40 to 77 years, has ranged from two months to two years (average, 13 months).

Complications of the system