Nighttime air purification device eases persistent asthma symptoms

Scientists have found that a simple device that filters out airborne asthma triggers during sleep can ease persistent symptoms of the condition during the day and improve quality of life.

Temperature controlled laminar airflow treatment, or TLA for short, delivers a constant, slightly cooled airflow in the patient’s breathing area, which displaces warmer air containing irritants and allergens, such as house dust mite and pet hairs.

The aim is to stave off the abnormal immune response that triggers a systemic allergic reaction, including the airway narrowing typical of an asthma attack, by preventing the sleeper breathing in the irritants and allergens.

The researchers base their findings on 281 non-smokers (either passive or active), aged between 7 and 70, from six European countries. All of them had poorly controlled atopic (allergic) asthma.

Of these, 189 slept with a TLA device (Protexo) just above their bed for a year. The remainder were given a dummy device.

The results showed a significant difference of 14-15 percent on quality of life scores between those using Protexo and those using the dummy device.

A steeper fall in nitric oxide – an indicator of inflammation – was seen among those using Protexo, and this was particularly noticeable among those with more severe asthma.

Those using this device also had significantly smaller increases in another indicator of persistent and more severe inflammation – immunoglobulin E (IgE).

The impact was greatest among those whose asthma required the most medication yet whose symptoms were the most poorly controlled, a group who “represent a significant area of unmet need,” the authors stated.

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Previous attempts to filter or purify airflow have not met with a great deal of success.

“The reason that nocturnal TLA is successful where so many other approaches have failed may be the profound reduction in inhaled aeroallergen exposure, which this treatment achieves,” they suggested

The study has been published online in Thorax.

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