Chronic obstructive lung disease, also known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is a condition characterised by the narrowing of small airways and the breakdown of lung tissue. Its common cause is tobacco smoking although a small number of cases are due to genetics and air pollution. There is currently no cure for COPD and available treatment options, such as the use of a bronchodilator and long-term oxygen therapy, are only meant to slow down the condition from worsening. In severe cases, patients may be recommended to undergo lung transplantation in which the diseased lungs are partially or totally replaced with lungs from a donor.
In many developing countries where COPD is more prevalent, access to specialist care for the condition is surprisingly very limited leading to high mortality rate and/or extremely costly medical care. This forces patients to travel to other countries where advanced pulmonary care is both widely available and affordable.
Patients from Southeast Asian countries, such as Indonesia, no longer need to travel too far and spend too much to access world-class medical care. Thanks to Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia’s growing medical tourism industry and impressive medical infrastructure, patients are now able to enjoy easy access to innovative treatments and therapies without going to Western countries where the cost of healthcare is incredibly high.
Singapore is typically the first choice for medical travellers who seek quality medical care that is comparable to the United States and United Kingdom. The city-state invests heavily in its medical facilities and specialists, sending most of them to the United States, United Kingdom, and other developed countries to improve their skills and expand their knowledge in their field of expertise. Also, many of the country’s hospitals offer comprehensive care for COPD including lung transplantation. These include the National Heart Centre Singapore, which has established its own lung transplant programme in 2000 giving several patients a new lease of life. The same world-class hospitals are found in Thailand and Malaysia where the cost of comprehensive COPD care is even more affordable, which is 75% cheaper when compared to Western countries.