Bronchoscopic procedures for emphysema treatment

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Emphysema is a debilitating lung disease continuing to be a major source of morbidity and mortality in the developed countries. Medical treatment is the mainstay of therapy and consists of smoking cessation, pulmonary rehabilitation, administration of bronchodilators and, when indicated, steroids and supplemental oxygen. Various surgical procedures have been promoted in the past to relieve dyspnoea and improve quality of life in patients with advanced emphysema; whilst early results were often encouraging, a sustained objective functional improvement was rarely achieved and most of those procedures were progressively abandoned. Despite controversies, LVRS has been shown to be beneficial to selected patients with end-stage emphysema when medical therapy has failed. There is no doubt that LVRS allows a significative functional improvement in a selected group of patients; however, it still carries a substantial morbidity, even if mortality is low at the centres with the larger experience. Patients with a most advanced functional deterioration show a higher surgical mortality and less impressive functional results, suggesting that LVRS should be considered more carefully in these situations. Bronchoscopic alternatives to the surgical approach have been recently proposed and some of them may play an important role in the future; in particular, the airway bypass and bronchoscopic lung volume reduction with one-way valves are certainly one step beyond on their way to clinical application. We hereby report the initial experimental and clinical experience with these new treatment options.




Venuta, F., Rendina, E. A., De Giacomo, T., Anile, M., Diso, D., Andreetti, C., … Coloni, G. F. (2006, March). Bronchoscopic procedures for emphysema treatment. European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery.

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