In a new study, the umbrella valve, a non-surgical, investigational device, was shown to be safe and effective for patients with emphysema. "The valve is similar in concept to lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) in that it aims to make the lungs work more efficiently, thereby decreasing shortness of breath," said the study's lead author Daniel H. Sterman, MD, FCCP, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. "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."

The one-way valve limits ventilation in diseased areas of the lungs and redirects ventilation to the remaining healthier portions of the lung while allowing for normal clearance of secretions. In a multi-centre preliminary pilot study, Sterman and colleagues examined the safety and effectiveness of the valve on patients with severe upper-lobe emphysema.

Over a 27-month period, 520 valves were implanted in 75 patients across the nine medical centres. Of the patients who received valve treatment, 46 patients (group A) had reduced complications and retained efficacy compared with the remaining patients (group B). In responding patients, valve treatment transferred an average of 20 percent ventilation and perfusion to healthier regions of the lung. Patients in group A who were less than 75 years old, did not have lingular treatment, and had fewer lung segments treated.

"Patients responding to valve treatment may now be able to do simple, everyday activities, such as bathe or shower independently, walk around the house without stopping, talk without trouble breathing, and can go out for shopping or entertainment," said study co-author Atul C. Mehta, MD, FCCP, Cleveland Clinic Foundation.; Source: American College of Chest Physicians