Patient Story – Bronchiectasis

06 November 2023

We’re launching a new series on our blog featuring patient stories that highlight the positive impact a more precise diagnosis can have on care. 4DMedical’s XV Lung Ventilation Analysis Software (XV LVAS) is transforming respiratory diagnostics for unexplained shortness of breath and lung disorders, including asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis, and more—providing clinicians with revolutionary insights into lung function and treatment interventions. Test results are available quickly, and physicians can easily communicate treatment plans and management options with patients and their care providers.

*All patient names have been anonymized.

Today, we’ll start with 65-year-old John. John was diagnosed with bronchiectasis at age 14. Bronchiectasis is commonly defined as a condition where damage to the lungs causes the airways to widen or develop pouches which makes it more challenging to clear out mucus, leading to frequent infections. This differs from the more common condition of bronchitis, which is a temporary illness and causes no long-term damage. According to the American Lung Association, Bronchiectasis affects 350,000 to 500,000 people in the United States.

Bronchiectasis sometimes has no identifiable cause, while other times it is tied to another disorder like cystic fibrosis or tuberculosis. The most common symptoms are coughing, wheezing, and repeated infections. John had repeated lung infections as a child, which led to his diagnosis and the discovery of an immune condition that was causing the bronchiectasis by age 14. After several surgeries as a teenager, years of antibiotics, and healthy eating and exercise, John still found himself in the hospital with pneumonia several times a year.

John’s physician suggested that it was time to use a nebulizer regularly to keep his condition at bay and allow him to continue with his passion for surfing. “I’ve been told to use one of those for many years, but I’ve always avoided it,” admits John. “It just seemed like a thing that… sick people have. Or old people have. So, I never liked it.” John wanted to live a normal life; the idea of using a machine for treatments to help him breathe did not agree with him.

Although John had seen his images from numerous CT and MRI scans over the years, the report produced by 4DMedical gave him a whole new understanding of his unique condition. With 4DMedical, physicians can measure regional lung function with just one single breath and easy-to-install cloud-based software. The XV Lung Ventilation Analysis Software (XV LVAS) quantitatively measures regional lung function and provides 4D views of the lungs like never before.  The XV technology creates a moving image during fluoroscopy exams using algorithms initially developed for wind tunnel image processing. The software provides radiologists and physicians with a report highlighting regional ventilation, tidal volume, heterogeneity, etc.

John could now see for himself that there was an area of the lung not functioning at all.

“I could actually see it —there was a red area, which the doctor explained to me means

there’s no oxygen flow there. He looked at that area, looked at me, and said, ‘If we get an infection in that area, we’re in serious trouble.’” Seeing the struggling area of his lungs, something clicked; he put aside his negative preconceived ideas about nebulizers and finally picked one up. Today, John proactively manages his lung health by regularly using a nebulizer, leading to fewer infections and hospitalizations.

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