The permanent lung damage caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may have a new foe in the form of a procedure that does not require surgery.
The new procedure, which researchers are testing in clinical trials at Cleveland Clinic and other hospitals across the U.S., helps the damaged lung tissue regain the elasticity lost to the disease. In an article posted by Health Hub at Cleveland Clinic, pulmonologist and researcher Dr. Joseph Cicenia describe the method by which they are able to treat the lung, improving quality of life for those treated.
Doctors “insert special flexible scopes through the patient’s mouth to place metal coils into the damaged tissue of the patient’s lung. The coils return elasticity to the diseased tissue, allowing the lungs to work in a more normal way,” he says.
This procedure has the potential to return COPD patients to a more normal lung function, reducing the hyperinflation that causes shortness of breath.
The procedure and coils have been in use in Europe since 2008. Patients receiving the coils in clinical studies have reported “substantial improvements in their lung function, capacity for exercise and quality of life.”
Preliminary studies show the coil procedure gives results that are comparable to the lung volume reduction surgery. However, because there are no incisions or tissue removal, the recovery process is much quicker, with patients returning home after an overnight stay in the hospital.
Dr. Cicenia says “the preliminary results are promising” and that expanded clinical trials are expected to help confirm the results seen in Europe.