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Artificial Lung Valve Could Aid Emphysema Paitients

Device could help some avoid surgery, experts say

MONDAY, Oct. 23, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- An experimental umbrella-like valve appears to help improve breathing in emphysema patients, according to a study that suggests the device may eventually offer a noninvasive alternative to lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS).

The one-way IBV valve limits ventilation in diseased areas of the lungs and redirects air to the remaining healthier areas of the lung. At the same time, it allows for normal clearance of lung secretions.

"The IBV valve is similar in concept to LVRS in that it aims to make the lungs work more efficiently, thereby decreasing shortness of breath," study author Dr. Daniel H. Sterman, of the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia, said in a prepared statement.

"Unlike lung-reduction surgery, valve treatment has fewer complications and a shorter hospital stay. For example, most valve-treated patients have a one-night observational hospital stay while surgical patients average a week or more in the hospital," Sterman said.

In this study, he and his colleagues assessed 75 patients with severe upper-lobe emphysema who received a total of 520 IBV valves (an average of six to seven valves per patient). The researchers concluded that the device was safe and effective.

The findings were to be presented at this week's American College of Chest Physicians annual meeting, in Salt Lake City.

The IBV valve has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is only available in a research trial sponsored by Spiration Inc., which developed the valve.

More information

The American Lung Association has more about emphysema.

SOURCE: American College of Chest Physicians, news release, Oct. 23, 2006
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