NORTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Temple Health researchers are reporting success with a new minimally invasive treatment for emphysema.
It would be an alternative to lung volume reduction surgery - one of the traditional treatments.
In patients with emphysema, air comes in, however, air from the last breath isn't completely exhaled and can become trapped in the lungs, in pockets.
That leads to over-inflation of the lungs.
The new option, with the Zephyr Endobronchial Valve, uses tiny one-way valves to close off diseased areas of the lungs.
The valves are put in place using a bronchoscope - a thin, lighted tube.
They close off non-functioning lobes of the lung, allowing air out, but not in.
That causes the damaged lobe to deflate, and healthier portions to work better.
The LIBERATE trial, led by Dr. Gerard Criner of Temple University's Lung Center, was designed to see if the Zephyr valves are safe and effective over a longer time frame than in previous clinical trials.
Almost half the patients in the trial saw improvements, with reduced shortness of breath and improved lung function and quality of life, with benefits lasting at least one-year after implant.
Long volume reduction surgery has been a long-time treatment for severe emphysema, in which diseased sections are surgically removed.
It helps some patients, but is invasive and can have complications.
Dr. Criner hopes the Zephyr valves will be a safer, yet equally effective treatment.
For more on the trial, click here.
Temple reports success with lung valves for emphysema
Minimally-invasive procedure could be alternative to major surgery