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Dr. Arun Phophalia
Dr. Arun Phophalia, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 35499
Experience:  MBBS, MS (General Surgery), Fellowship in Sports Medicine
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My brother turns 54 today. He has been paralyzed from the

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My brother turns 54 today. He has been paralyzed from the chest down since birth but has been completely independent living on his own until his recent marriage. At 18 he had two Harrington rods put in his back due to his scoliosis which developed during his growing spurt in his teens. He has been in good health until two months ago and developed shortness of breath. He has been diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. One specialist in Chicago refused to see him since his chest x-ray showed some chest deformity. He has no dizziness or recent history of bronchitis, pneumonia or colds. I feel he has restrictive lung disease due to his scoliosis. He has been told he has 5 - 15 years to live and to quit his breathing exercises as it will not do any good. I completely disagree with this as I feel deep breathing exercises can get him off of his 24/7 oxygen and extend his life span. What do you advise?

Hello and welcome, Carolyn .

I completely agree with you. Breathing exercises are helpful in most of the lung and chest disorders including restrictive lung disease. So stopping them would not be advisable. In your brother's case they would help him keeping his lung functions better and chest wall / cage in healthy state. Please see these authentic reference resources also which advocate chest physiotherapy / breathing exercises;

Patients who benefit the most from a pulmonary rehabilitation program:

  • Restrictive lung disease or pulmonary vascular disease
  1. Bach JR. Rehabilitation of the Patient with Respiratory Dysfunction. In: DeLisa JA. Rehabilitation: Principles and Practice 2nd ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 1993:952–972.
  2. Bach JR. Pulmonary Rehabilitation: The Obstructive and Paralytic Conditions. Philadelphia: Hanley & Belfus; 1996.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

If my brother has 30% lung capacity and uses deep breathing exercises, is it possible to get back to 50 % or more lung capacity and get off the portable oxygen tanks and extend his life expectancy. His doctor has just told him he has 15 - 30 years and are testing the low dose of viagara to see if that helps. Where do we find a specialist who has a background with paralysis, scoliosis and pulmonary hypertension. It seems that the specialists he has encountered so far have just looked at the simple things. He obviously has idiopathic adolescent scoliosis as his curvature of the spine occurred between 10 and 16 years and after doing research online about patients who have had scolios operations it is quite common that they develop restrictive lung disease. I am very disappointed that his surgeon did not advise doing deep breathing exercises at the time of his surgery thirty years ago knowing that he had a strong chance of developing restrictive lung disease which then leads to pulmonary hypertension. Thanks very much for your time.

Hello and welcome,

Depp breathing exercises would definitely retard the progression of disease. There is almost more than 60-70% chance that his lung capacity would increase and life expectancy also would extend. Getting off the portable oxygen tank though may not necessarily occur in all the person as there is still slight decrease in oxygen saturation despite the enhanced lung capacity. I agree that breathing exercises starting very early in the life would have significantly slowed the restrictive lung disease.

It is privilege assisting you.

Dr. Arun
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I appreciate very much your information. One last question,'what would you advise to help him get off the oxygen and how do I find a specialist in the Kansas City Mo area who will go the extra mile in his care?
You are most welcome.

The best bet would be the hospital attached to the medical schol, in your area, where you can find a good pulmonologist. You can find a rehab specialist too at the same institution who can help in chalking out the breathing exercise regime. Doctors working in the medical school hospitals are academic oriented and take extra care. The deep breathing exercises and yoga breathing pattern may help him getting off from oxygen in a year or so.
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