A former smoker who had to quit work because of a serious lung condition has praised a new medical gadget he says could be ‘life-changing’ for him.
Martin Chesney (63), who lives at Edmonthorpe, has had chronic obstructive pulonary disease (COPD) for more than five years.
His condition makes it hard to breathe because of narrowing airways and damage to the lungs and sometimes leads to black-outs after heavy coughing and a lack of sleep.
Scientists in Leicester have now potentially made his life a lot better, though, by coming up with a pioneering device which alerts sufferers like him that they are about to have a life-limiting attack.
After taking part in trials for the equipment over 30 days, he said: “It is a benefit no-end as you are able to predict a possible attack, which allows you to take medicine before it becomes nasty.
“When I have an attack it’s dreadful, I develop a really bad cough and can black-out from coughing.
“I can’t lie down to sleep and I often resort to sleeping downstairs in an armchair for as long as it lasts.
“It is very life-limiting. I look forward to the day I have this kit which, if it can prevent an attack, will really be life-changing.”
Mr Chesney, who gave up his maintenance fitter and machinist job early, shortly after his diagnosis in 2012, usually suffers two lung attacks a year.
The condition became so debilitating that he agreed to take part in trials for the device, which is a very simple urine test that works in a similar way to a home pregnancy test.
It was developed by UK company Mologic and the patient study was carried out by the test developers at the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre, a partnership betweeen Leicester’s Hospitals, the University of Leicester and Loughborough University.
Once it becomes available, hopefully within the next five years, the device could save the NHS at least £40 million a year by preventing unnecessary hospital admissions and the over-prescribing of drugs to treat suspected attacks.
Mr Chesney added: “Having to give up work because of ill-health was a pretty big blow and suffering from this condition has taken its toll.
“I was willing to try anything to help me overcome these lung attacks, which COPD sufferers are prone to and can sometimes mean a stay in hospital.
“In very extreme cases suffering a lung attack can be fatal.”
Professor Christopher Brightling, who led the clinical study, said: “This simple urine test will help someone with COPD to determine whether the onset of more symptoms really is the beginning of a severe lung attack, or simply a variation in their background symptoms which will get better on their own.
“This will help to make better treatment decisions and could hugely improve lives, especially as severe lung attacks can be devastating.”
Mr Chesney is one of three million people living with COPD and each year the condition causes 115,000 emergency admissions to hospital and 24,000 deaths.