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5MinuteConsult Journal Club

HEPA Filters for COPD Patients


Am J Respir Crit Care Med Vol 205, Iss 4, pp 421–430, Feb 15, 2022

Study Summary

For Patients with COPD, using a HEPA Filter combined with a charcoal filter reduced symptoms and improved quality of life.


116 COPD patients were randomized to high-efficiency particulate absolute (HEPA) filters combined with carbon filters vs control filters for 6 months. When used for 80% of the days of the study, the filters resulted in lower rescue medication use, lower symptom scores, fewer moderate exacerbations, and improved quality-of-life scores.


HEPA Filters improve clinical outcomes in COPD.


Research on HEPA filters in asthma have been conflicting. Some have found benefit in multi modal interventions, especially in agricultural settings (J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2018 May;141(5):1854-1869). Oddly, no one has evaluated their efficacy in COPD.

This study shows a rather large benefit that while is costly (HEPA Filters range from $150-$250), run less than a trip to the ED, a combination LABA/LAMA, or even a moderate exacerbation needing oral steroids and an antibiotic.

While we wait to have this replicated, it seems worthwhile to encourage our COPD patients to buy and use a HEPA filter that will cover their bedroom. A small investment that could have significant benefits.

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