You are probably wondering right about now, did I read that title correctly? Well rest assured, yes, you did. Within the last few years, metal coils have been a part of an ongoing clinical study to treat patients that suffer from the lung disease known as emphysema. Currently, 4.7 million Americans have been diagnosed with this disease. According to the American Lung Association, this number is expected to rise in the next several years. Treatment for this disease has always been focused on relieving the symptoms, which includes shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing. Doctors are experimenting with metal coils as a potential application to help emphysema patients breathe easier though. Just how exactly are metal coils and emphysema treatment related?
What is Emphysema?
Emphysema is one of the major obstructive lung diseases that contribute to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It develops when the lungs become damaged, usually from a lifetime of smoking. As the damage builds up, the lungs lose their elasticity and have greater difficulty expanding and contracting. The chronic disease worsens over time, making it even more difficult for sufferers to breathe. Emphysema is sometimes treated by simply cutting out the stiff, diseased lung tissue. Taking medication or specialized exercise programs can also help slow the disease.
How Exactly Does This Treatment Work?
This new medical procedure is utilizing metal coils to breathe new life back into emphysema sufferers. Doctors from Canada, the United States and Europe are studying this new treatment that involves inserting slinky-like metal coils into damaged portions of the lungs to restore elasticity, allowing a patient to breathe normally.
The metal coils act like a spring. Bringing the lungs back to a smaller size so it’s easier for the patient to breathe. Doctors insert the coils through a narrow tube inside a patient’s nose or mouth before threading the tiny coil into the airway of the lung. The coil then attaches to the diseased tissue and pulls it tight, compressing the unhealthy portion of the lung. This gives healthier lung tissue room to expand. The treatment even allows for several coils to be inserted to improve overall lung capacity.
For a visual example of this procedure, click here.
According to an article published by the Wall Street Journal, early studies have suggested that patients that have undergone the treatment report improved lung function and exercisability. However, more research is needed to determine which patients are best suited for metal coils and emphysema treatment. More patients are going to be treated within the year and final results are expected in early 2015.
Stems cell treatments are also a viable option to help treat COPD related conditions. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with COPD and want to learn more about treatment options, please contact or call (800) 729-3065 us today.
*This is not a treatment offered at the Lung Institute. This page is for informational purposes.