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Thursday, December 23, 2010

New procedure may benefit emphysema patients

A new procedure that does not involve surgery was discovered and studied in a European trial that might prove to help Emphysema patients catch their breath, according to, "Emphysema Patients Breathing Easier Without Drugs, Surgery."

The new procedure involves doctors placing an umbrella-like bronchial valve in the airway. Then airflow is redirected from the diseased part of the lung to the healthy parts, according to the article. "In a European trial, experts found the valves were safe to use and improved quality of life. The bronchial valves are in the final phase of testing in the U.S."

The device is called an IBV Valve System. The device is inserted during a bronchoscopy.

"When it's put inside the airways, it [the valve] expands open and sort of seals the airway to prevent more air from going into the bad region of the lung. But when people are breathing out, it closes down a little bit so that air can come out and so that secretions in the lung can also come out," D. Kyle Hogarth, M.D., of the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Experts note the device is better for those who have emphysema of the upper lobes as compared to the lower lobes.

Likewise, it is not a replacement for common sense, as experts recommend the best therapy for treating emphysema is to quit smoking and seek appropriate medical treatment. Quitting smoking is the best way to stop progression of the disease.

Since there needed to be a control group for comparison purposes, those involved in the study who got a "sham" valve will be eligible to receive the real thing after six months.

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