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Clinical Trial - A Non-surgical Treatment Approach to Severe Emphysema

When medical therapy is no longer effective for patients with advanced emphysema, doctors often have to consider interventions such as lung volume reduction surgery. This procedure removes the most severely damaged and over-inflated areas of the lung, allowing the healthier lung tissue to expand. This is major surgery and many of the people who need it are too frail to tolerate it.

A new clinical study is testing a minimally invasive way to provide lung volume reduction for patients without undergoing surgery. Using a bronchoscope, a small, umbrella-shaped, one-way valve is placed in the airways leading to the damaged lung. The valves allow air and secretions to come out of the target lobe when the patient exhales but prevent air from reentering on inhalation. The damaged part of the lung deflates, allowing the healthier portion to expand.

UTMC is one of fewer than 20 centers in the country and the only center in Tennessee participating in this trial. The trial is now open and recruiting patients with severe emphysema who have daily symptoms. Patients must have completed pulmonary rehabilitation and must have quit smoking for at least four months. Participants will be randomized to either valve treatment or to a control group. They will be closely monitored for six months, then at yearly intervals.

To find out more, please contact Lauren Davis at 305-7975 or one of the physician investigators: Paul Branca, MD; James Shamiyeh, MD; or Michael McCormack, MD, at 524-7471.

Posted December 31, 2013

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