Background: We evaluated the feasibility and short-term functional outcome after bronchoscopic lung-volume reduction performed with one-way valves in patients with severe heterogeneous emphysema.
Methods: Thirteen patients entered this pilot study. Endobronchial one-way valves were placed in the segmental bronchi supplying the most hyperinflated parts of the emphysematous lungs to allow lung deflation, reduce lung volume, and alleviate symptoms. The valves and delivery catheter were inserted under intravenous anesthesia and spontaneous assisted ventilation, with visual control through a flexible bronchoscope. We performed unilateral bronchoscopic lung-volume reduction in 11 patients and staged bilateral procedures in 2. Preoperative median forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) was 0.75 L/s (22%), residual volume was 5.3 L (233%), total lung capacity, 7.9 L (123%); intrathoracic gas volume, 6.5 L (176%); and 6-minute walk test, 223 meters. All patients required supplemental oxygen at rest (1.4 L/min). The median preoperative Medical Research Council (MRC) scale dyspnea score was 4.
Results: Six complications occurred in 3 patients: two bilateral and one contralateral pneumothorax, one pneumonia, and two episodes of bronchospasm. Functional results at 1 and 3 months showed a significant improvement in FEV1, residual volume, and 6-minute walk test; 43% of the patients were able to completely stop supplemental oxygen. The posttreatment MRC median dyspnea score at 1 and 3 months was 2. Bronchoscopic follow up at 1 and 3 months showed that the valves were correctly in place with no granulation.
Conclusions: Bronchoscopic lung-volume reduction with one-way valves can be performed with acceptable short-term safety and worthwhile functional benefits.