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19 November 2008

Papworth Hospital Trial New ‘Airway Bypass’ for Emphysema Sufferers

World COPD DayPapworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is pleased to announce on World COPD Day (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) its participation in a trial of a new treatment for severe emphysema.

Papworth is one of 45 hospitals in the world and only 2 in the UK participating in a worldwide trial to evaluate the effectiveness of the airway bypass procedure to relieve breathlessness in patients with advanced widespread ‘homogeneous’ emphysema. Emphysema is a progressive lung condition which leaves sufferers struggling for breath. Over time the air sacs in the lungs lose their natural elasticity – spent air is pushed back out into the lungs which makes it harder to exhale. This causes an overfilling of the lung and it is a struggle for sufferers to force air in and out.

The airway bypass procedure relieves this overfilling by creating new passages through the walls of the natural airways – providing a pathway for the trapped air in the inner lung to escape by ‘bypassing’ the collapsing small airways. After each new passage is made, a small drug-eluting stent (a wire mesh similar to those used in coronary arteries) is implanted and keeps the passageway open. This allows trapped air to escape the lungs and thereby relieve breathlessness.

“This is a very exciting treatment option for patients and may revolutionize the treatment of severe homogenous emphysema. This procedure if the trial is successful could lead to a real improvement in quality of life for emphysema sufferers. We are still actively recruiting patients for this trial, and we have some places remaining. If you are a sufferer of severe emphysema you may be able to participate.” Dr Jas Parmar, Respiratory Consultant.

If you are interested in participating in the trial please talk to your own respiratory consultant about whether you would be suitable. You may qualify if you are 35 years or older, diagnosed with advanced widespread emphysema and a former smoker who has stopped smoking for at least 2 months.


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