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Lung Bypass Could Fight Emphysema

Technique allows trapped air a way out, experts say

THURSDAY, Oct. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Airway bypass to treat emphysema patients shows promise, researchers say.

Emphysema, a component of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is a progressive, irreversible lung disease characterized by the destruction of lung tissue. Treatment options are limited.

The new strategy, called airway bypass, is a minimally invasive, catheter-based bronchoscopic technique designed to reduce lung overinflation and improve breathlessness. It does so by making new pathways for trapped air to exit the lungs, according to background information in the study.

During airway bypass, new openings are created in the airway wall connecting the damaged lung tissue to the natural airway. These new pathways are supported and kept open by Exhale Drug-Eluting Stents.

This feasibility study, published in the October issue of the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, found that patients showed a statistically significant reduction in the amount of air trapped in the lungs, as well as an improvement in breathing for patients at six months after the procedure.

The results were released by Broncus Technologies Inc, the maker of the Exhale stents.

More information

The American Lung Association has more about emphysema.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Broncus Technologies Inc., news release, October 2007

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