New, Minimally Invasive Procedure May Improve Quality of Life for Patients with Emphysema
One of the major reasons that people living with COPD feel breathless when they do things is called lung hyperinflation. This is when too much air gets stuck in the lungs of individuals with emphysema. It occurs because under normal circumstances, the lungs are like a balloon – they are rubbery and elastic, and when air goes into them, their natural response is to deflate and let the air back out. With emphysema, the lungs lose their elasticity so the deflation is diminished. LVRS works by surgically removing the most severe areas of emphysema from the lung so that the other areas, which do not have as much diminished elasticity, can work more efficiently. At Northwestern, a study is being started to investigate whether an experimental device can achieve these similar benefits.
The RePneu Lung Volume Reduction Coil (RePneu LVRC®) System (PneumRx, Inc., Mountain View, CA) is a less invasive device intended to improve the lung function in patients suffering from emphysema. The coil is made of metal and implanted in the airways of the lung. It works by squeezing the diseased portions of the lung, and by doing so, the coil creates more room for the healthier areas of the lung to expand and function better.
“Our goal with this new, investigational procedure is for patients to receive the same benefits as if they had major surgery,” said Colin Gillespie, MD, pulmonologist and director of interventional pulmonology at Northwestern Medicine. “The hope is that patients with emphysema will have an improved quality of life, better exercise capacity and improved lung function at substantially less risk.”
The study will only be conducted in 30 centers across the county, and Northwestern Medicine is the only center in Chicago. Northwestern investigators include Malcolm DeCamp, MD, Ravi Kalhan, MD, Colin Gillespie, MD and Sharon Rosenberg, MD.
If you are interested in participating in this investigational trial, please call the study coordinator, Danielle Barkema, at 312-695-4828. To learn more about pulmonology and critical care at Northwestern Memorial, visit us online.