National attention, praise for Huntsville lung clinic - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

National attention, praise for Huntsville lung clinic

The people who run the program want to ensure patients continue to maintain their health after they leave. (Source: WAFF) The people who run the program want to ensure patients continue to maintain their health after they leave. (Source: WAFF)

An innovative program promoting lung health at Huntsville Hospital is gaining national attention and recognition.

Tom Mangan is having his lung capacity tested with a of spirometer. 

Just a few years ago, he says, he was having difficulty breathing. 

"I was diagnosed with asthma at first, and then they decided it was emphysema... and they gave me an inhaler," Mangan said. "Everything was fine for a while." 

But his breathing got worse. He says this form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is tough. 

"What you have trouble doing is exhaling. So you can breathe in, but when you can't breathe out, you can't breathe in anymore... because the lungs are full," he said.

He says he has an emergency inhaler, which he rarely uses. He is on several medications and gets a lot of activity at the Center for Lung Health at Huntsville Hospital. 

"If it wasn't for this type of activity, I'd be a couch potato and have difficulty moving from room to room," said Mangan.

The center is gaining national attention, according to Manager Karen Adams. 

"The Center for Lung Health was awarded the advanced certification in COPD management from the Joint Commission," Adams said. "It's actually the first program in the State of Alabama to achieve this certification."

First in the state, and ninth in the country overall. She says they are judged on several categories. 

"Part of it is staff education. The use of spirometry, risk factor reduction, smoking cessation, and self management of COPD," Adams explained.

The people who run this program also want to make certain that when their patients leave here, they're continuing to try to maintain their health, according to Adams. 

"Once our patients leave, our goals that we work for are: helping them feel like they're breathing better, they're able to do their activities, daily activities in an improved manner. That their health-related quality of life has improved - and we want to keep them out of the hospital," she said.

It has been an answered prayer for Tom Mangan: 

"When I first came in here this year, I had a cane because I couldn't make it from the parking lot into here. You don't see me with a cane now. This is probably the best thing for anybody with COPD."

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