Lung volume reduction surgery for severe emphysema

J Cardiovasc Surg (Torino). 1998 Dec;39(6):843-7.


Background: We report mid-term results after 25 consecutive lung volume reduction operations (LVRS) for the treatment of severe dyspnea due to advanced emphysema.

Study design: patients were studied prospectively up to 12 months after surgery.

Setting: preoperative evaluation, surgery and postoperative care took place in our university hospital.

Patients: patient selection was based on severe dyspnea and airway obstruction despite optimal medical treatment, lung overinflation and completed rehabilitation programme. PATIENTS with severe hypercarbia (PCO2>50 mmHg) were excluded. Nineteen rehabilitated patients who fulfilled our inclusion criteria but postponed or denied LVRS were followed up clinically.

Interventions: LVRS was performed bilaterally in 22 patients (median sternotomy) and unilaterally in 3 patients (limited thoracotomy).

Measures: Outcome was measured by dyspnea evaluation, 6-minute-walking distance and pulmonary function tests.

Results: Twelve months postoperatively dyspnea and mobility improved significantly (MRC score from 3.3+/-0.7 to 2.12+/-0.8, 6-min-walk from 251+/-190 to 477+/-189 m). These results were superior compared to the results of the conservatively treated patients. Significant improvement could also be documented in airway obstruction (FEV1 from 960+/-369 to 1438+/-610 ml) and overinflation (TLC from 133+/-14 to 118+/-21% predicted and RV from 280+/-56 to 186+/-59% predicted).

Conclusions: LVRS is an effective and promising treatment option for selected patients with end-stage emphysema and could be offered as an alternative and / or bridge to lung transplantation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Dyspnea / etiology
  • Dyspnea / physiopathology
  • Dyspnea / surgery
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonectomy* / methods
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / complications
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / surgery*
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Treatment Outcome