'Umbrella' Valve Provides Potential Alternative

Photo: X-ray of the lung

Emphysema - a subtype of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - is a progressive and debilitating lung disorder, characterized by irreversible airflow obstruction. Current management for emphysema includes medication and/or supplemental oxygen, pulmonary rehabilitation, and, in rare cases, lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) to remove the most diseased portions of the lung.

"The IBVTM Valve is similar in concept to LVRS in that it aims to make the lungs work more efficiently, thereby decreasing shortness of breath," said the study's lead author Daniel H. Sterman, from University of Pennsylvania Medical Centre, Philadelphia, PA. "Unlike lung reduction surgery, valve treatment has fewer complications and a shorter hospital stay. For example, most valve-treated patients have a one-night observational hospital stay while surgical patients average a week or more in the hospital." The one-way IBVTM Valve limits ventilation in diseased areas of the lungs and redirects ventilation to the remaining healthier portions of the lung while allowing for normal clearance of secretions.

Over a 27-month period, 520 valves were implanted in 75 patients across the nine medical centres. The valves were implanted in the upper lobes of the lung using flexible bronchoscopy, with an average of six to seven valves implanted per patient.

"Patients responding to valve treatment may now be able to do simple, everyday activities, such as bathe or shower independently, walk around the house without stopping, talk without trouble breathing, and can go out for shopping or entertainment," said study co-author Atul C. Mehta, Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Valve treatment may represent a valuable option for the palliative treatment of patients with emphysema.

COMPAMED.de; Source: American College of Chest Physicians