Bronchoscopic lung volume reduction

J Cardiovasc Surg (Torino). 2003 Feb;44(1):101-8.


Aim: Because traditional lung volume reduction involves major surgery in unfit patients, resource implications are formidable. Many patients are too ill for consideration and overall survival rates have lead to questions about its continuation. We report on a new method of lung volume reduction, through a bronchoscopic approach. Patients with severe dyspnoea with end stage emphysema were recruited. Target areas for collapse therapy were upper lobes or segments with severe destruction, occupying a large volume, with surrounding lung compression and little perfusion. These were delineated radiologically and with ventilation-perfusion scanning. Endobronchial bloc-kade was initially with detachable, silicone balloons and later with especially designed and hospital manufactured stainless steel wire stents containing bio-compatible sponge.

Methods: Five males and 3 females with preoperative breathlessness at rest and muscle wasting were treated. Operative time was a mean of 67.5 min. Rehabilitation began immediately and 7 patients left hospital the following day.

Results: Five patients had improvements in well-being, dyspnoea, exercise tolerance, lifestyles and medication requirements. One patient survived at least 2 years and 2 are still alive 4(1/2) years later. Endoscopic balloon replacement with wire and sponge devices was required in 5 patients. Complications were related to intraoperative oxygenation problems in 2 patients and late infections in 4.

Conclusions: Bronchoscopic lung volume reduction for the treatment of end-stage emphysema subjectively improved the majority of patients. The use of stents was promising: balloons were disappointing.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biocompatible Materials / therapeutic use
  • Bronchoscopy / methods*
  • Dyspnea / etiology
  • Dyspnea / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung / surgery
  • Lung Volume Measurements
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Preoperative Care
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / complications
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / surgery*
  • Quality of Life
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Stents
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biocompatible Materials