Norfolk, VA September 23, 2008 Researchers at Sentara Cardiovascular Research Institute begin a new international study to explore the safety and effectiveness of stents to open airways of patients with advanced emphysema or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
The EASE (Exhale Airway Stents for Emphysema) Trial focuses on airway bypass, an investigational technique without surgery to create new pathways to release trapped air from within diseased lung tissue, thereby helping patients with advanced widespread emphysema breathe easier.
Similar to the stents used to prop open clogged arteries in heart patients, these drug-eluting stents are now holding open new passageways in the lungs.
Pulmonologists and cardiothoracic surgeons at Sentara Thoracic Surgery Center in Norfolk, Virginia are collaborating to perform this investigational procedure of the first wave of Virginia participants. During the procedure, a tube is guided through the mouth of trial participants to access the lung and implant up to six stents smaller than a pencil eraser. The goal is to relieve breathlessness and over inflated lungs hallmarks of this incurable, progressive disease.
Traditional treatment options for patients with severe emphysema are limited to lung reduction surgery, lung transplant, and inhalers, which have diminishing impact as the disease progresses. Airway bypass, done without open surgery, is considered minimally invasive and hoped to be an option for broader numbers of patients.
"Emphysema is really life limiting. Some of my patients who golfed a year ago now get winded taking a shower," says cardiothoracic surgeon Joseph Newton, Sentara Cardiovascular Research Institute's principal investigator for this trial. "Through research like this, I'm hopeful we are going to find a way to help these patients do things most of us take for granted," he continues.
That's just what trial candidate John Wo
|Contact: Cheri Hinshelwood|