Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lung surgery benefits emphysema patients for several years

25.03.2003


A procedure known as lung-volume reduction surgery (LVRS) appears to improve overall health and quality of life for individuals with end-stage emphysema, and these effects last as long as five years in more than half of this population, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.



The findings appear in the March issue of the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. The procedure was developed at the School of Medicine in 1993 by the study’s principal investigator, Joel D. Cooper, M.D., the Evarts A. Graham Professor of Surgery and head of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery.

"Evidence of the success of this surgery in patients with severe emphysema is overwhelming, and these latest findings confirm and underscore its potential for treating this critically ill population," Cooper says. "This publication represents a major, interdisciplinary team effort, which depended on expertise from a variety of areas, including pulmonary medicine, anesthesiology and nurse coordination."


Emphysema is characterized by destruction and overinflation of the lungs. As the lungs become progressively bloated, they fill the chest cavity and thorax, making it difficult to expand and contract during normal breathing. The disease relentlessly progresses and is responsible for close to 17,000 deaths each year in the United States, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

In select patients, LVRS provides an alternative to lung transplantation, which until recently was the only option for patients with end-stage lung disease that cannot be controlled with drugs. By removing the most diseased portions of the lung, the procedure provides the lungs with more room to expand within the chest cavity.

Though LVRS is not a cure for emphysema, studies suggest that the surgery increases breathing capacity by more than 50 percent. Such improvements allow otherwise debilitated individuals to resume many normal, daily activities, including moderate exercise. This current study is the first to examine the long-term endurance of patients following surgery.

The research team maintained a detailed database of lung function and quality-of-life assessments for the first 250 patients who underwent LVRS at Washington University’s clinical affiliate, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, between January 1993 and June 2000. Follow-up evaluations were performed six months and one year after surgery and again each year afterward. Patients were followed for an average of 4.8 years.

All participants first were enrolled in a rehabilitation program for about three months prior to surgery and were given medical and dietary programs to make sure they were as healthy as possible for the operation. They also remained on fitness and medical regimens after surgery.

At the conclusion of the study, more than 60 percent of the 250 patients were still alive, and only 18 patients had received a lung transplant since undergoing LVRS. Without surgery, it is estimated that half of the 250 patients would have died within three years and that those still alive after five years would have significantly deteriorated.

Overall, the surviving LVRS patients still had measurable improvements in lung function after five years. For example, patients were tested to see how much air they could blow out in one second, a measurement known as forced expiratory volume. Six months after surgery, 95 percent of patients had improved on this test by an average of 54 percent. After five years, 53 percent of patients still had better scores than before surgery, though they were only 7 percent better.

The team also measured the amount of air left in the lungs after a deep exhale, a value called residual volume. People with healthy lungs have low residual-volume scores because very little air remains in the chest cavity after breathing out. Evaluations six months and one year after surgery revealed that 90 percent of participants had improved residual-volume scores, and that residual-volume values declined an average of 30 percent. After five years, 79 percent still had better residual-volume scores than before surgery, and the average improvement was 14 percent better than pre-surgery scores.

Quality-of-life assessments also were positive: Almost 80 percent of patients still reported better quality-of-life scores five years after surgery than before surgery.

"This procedure is not a cure for emphysema," Cooper emphasizes. "No matter how successful the operation, emphysema continues to degrade the lungs and progressively impairs breathing. However, our results confirm that LVRS can in fact extend patients’ lives and allow them to continue participating in normal activities of daily living."

Determining selection criteria is one of the most controversial issues in measuring the effectiveness of LVRS. Cooper’s team therefore analyzed data from patients with potential risk factors. They found that individuals who required surgery to the lower portion of the lungs benefited from the procedure, but their lung function degraded faster than in individuals with damage to the upper portion of the lungs. Other identified risk factors include advanced age, male gender and very low forced expiratory volume.

"We strongly believe that patient selection is one of the keys to success for this procedure," Cooper says. "With rigorous preoperative preparation and stringent participation criteria, lung-volume reduction surgery appears to improve life expectancy and quality of life for patients who otherwise have very poor prognoses."

Gila Z. Reckess | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://medinfo.wustl.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Collagen nanofibrils in mammalian tissues get stronger with exercise
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule
12.12.2018 | UT Southwestern Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Data storage using individual molecules

Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.

Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Pressure tuned magnetism paves the way for novel electronic devices

18.12.2018 | Materials Sciences

New type of low-energy nanolaser that shines in all directions

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA research reveals Saturn is losing its rings at 'worst-case-scenario' rate

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>