Researchers at National Jewish Health are testing an investigational treatment to learn if poking holes in the lungs of emphysema patients can immediately help them breathe more easily. Destruction of lung tissue caused by emphysema can leave lungs stiff and overinflated with air that cannot escape. The holes, kept open by small stents inserted during a minimally invasive procedure, could relieve the hyperinflation of the lungs, allowing the healthy parts of the lungs to more easily inflate and take in air.
"Advanced emphysema patients are often in poor physical condition, struggling with each breath," said Ali Musani, MD, FCCP, principal investigator of the study at National Jewish. "If patients can breathe easier it is likely to improve their quality of life."
During the airway bypass procedure, new openings are created in the airway wall connecting the damaged lung tissue to the natural airway. These pathways are supported and kept open by Exhale Drug-Eluting Stents manufactured by Broncus Technologies, Inc.
"Airway bypass is groundbreaking because right now it is the only treatment being studied to help emphysema patients whose disease has destroyed tissue throughout the lung," said Dr. Musani. "If successful this minimally invasive procedure would help those who would not otherwise be considered for or benefit from lung volume reduction surgery."
Emphysema, a component of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is a chronic, progressive and irreversible lung disease characterized by the destruction of lung tissue. The loss of the lungs' natural elasticity and the collapse of airways in the lung combine to make exhalation ineffective, leaving emphysema sufferers with hyperinflation because they are unable to get air out of their lungs. Breathing becomes inefficient and patients have to work very hard just to breathe.
National Jewish is currently recruiting patients for the EASE trial. The study w
|Contact: Meghan Oreste|