Lung volume reduction in COPD
30 March 2012
A study funded by the Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) programme aims to establish if a bronchoscopic lung volume reduction will result in significant improvement in lung function in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients.
COPD is a common lung disease in smokers and is predicted to rise to be the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030. In emphysema the lungs become baggy and full of holes and the sufferer is unable to breathe out fully. This causes breathlessness, exercise limitation, and poor quality of life and although tablet and inhaled therapy provide some benefit, many people are still very limited by the disease.
Bronchoscopic lung volume reduction involves using a fibreoptic camera (bronchoscope) to place valves in the airways. It blocks the airways that lead to the most affected area of lung. This causes the damaged area of the lung to collapse, improving lung volumes and making more space for the remaining healthier lung to function.
Lead researcher Dr Nicholas Hopkinson of Imperial College London commented:
"Response is highly variable, but our data suggests that where successful it may lead to a significant survival benefit."
The team will conduct a double blind, randomised controlled trial in 50 COPD patients who have heterogeneous emphysema with intact interlobar fissures. By selecting patients who are expected to have a good response, the researchers can receive a reliable and clinically meaningful result. Half of the patients will have valves placed to block the worst affected lobe of their lungs and the other half will have a bronchoscopy performed, but no valves placed.
The researchers will mainly be looking for improvement in lung function, but will also measure lung volume changes and endurance exercise capacity.
View the project details