Indexed on: 18 Sep '07Published on: 18 Sep '07Published in: Seminars in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Novel endobronchial methods for reducing lung volume in patients with advanced emphysema are currently being evaluated in clinical trials as potential alternatives to lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS). Three bronchoscopic lung volume reduction (BLVR) approaches have shown promise in initial testing: (1) placement of endobronchial one-way valves to promote atelectasis by blocking inspiratory flow; (2) airway bypass tract formation using a radiofrequency catheter to facilitate emptying of damaged lung regions with long expiratory times; and (3) instillation of biological adhesives designed to collapse and remodel hyperinflated lung. The limited clinical data currently available suggests all three techniques are reasonably safe. However, efficacy signals have been smaller and less durable than those observed after LVRS. Studies to optimize patient selection, refine treatment strategies, characterize procedural safety, elucidate mechanisms of action, and characterize short- and longer-term effectiveness of each approach are ongoing.