Doctors at the University of Virginia Health System have opened a new clinical trial to try and help people with emphysema breathe better. The study will test the safety and effectiveness of a bronchoscopic valve, an experimental device designed to channel air to healthier portions of the lung. The idea is to improve a patient’s physical functioning, tolerance for exercise and general quality of life.
The study device works by limiting airflow to a selected portion of the lung in patients with emphysema. The bronchoscopic valve is implanted without an incision, hopefully providing an alternative to lung volume reduction surgery. The device is a small valve shaped like an umbrella. It’s placed in the bronchial tree to prevent air from entering targeted sections of the lung. Doctors successfully implanted the device in UVa’s first patient Dec. 2, the first time the device has been used in a clinical trial in the Southeast.
“UVa was selected to participate in this important study because of our extensive experience in treating patients with emphysema,” said Dr. Jonathon Truwit, professor of internal medicine and head of pulmonary and critical care medicine at UVa. “This is a large patient population with a need for new treatment options. As one of just twenty medical centers in the world participating in the trial, we are pleased to be involved in this innovative study.”
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