CHICAGO, Oct. 22 Emphysema patients whose lungs are implanted with a pencil eraser-sized, one-way endobronchial valve experience significantly improved measures of lung function and report better quality of life, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researcher Frank C. Sciurba, M.D., reported today at CHEST 2007, the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians. Scientific sessions continue through Thursday, Oct. 25, at the McCormick Place Lakeside Center in Chicago.
Normally, lungs easily expand and contract with breathing. But with emphysema, air sacs in the lungs lose elasticity and become hyper-inflated, resulting in decreased function and a feeling of breathlessness, said Dr. Sciurba, principal investigator of the multi-center trial, known as the Endobronchial Valve for Emphysema Palliation Trial (VENT) and director of the Emphysema Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh. Endobronchial valves can allow these over-distended, diseased portions of lung to deflate, improving overall function.
The 31-center, two-year study ended in April 2006 and involved 321 patients in the United States. In the trial, emphysema patients were randomly assigned to either a treatment or control group. Lung function was re-evaluated at six months using a common clinical measure of the volume of air forcibly exhaled in one second (FEV-1) and a six-minute walk test, said Dr. Sciurba. Of the 220 patients who received valve implants, there was a 6.4 percent greater improvement in FEV-1, and a 5.7 percent improvement in distance walked, compared to controls, he said. For some important subsets of treated patients, the results were even more dramatic, Dr. Sciurba added.
For example, patients who had a fissure completely separating the lobes of the lung and whose endobronchial valves were placed to exclude the entire diseased lobe had changes in FEV-1 of greater than 20 percent, he said. This is akin to the results achieved in
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University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences