Updated 05 September 2016

Millions of emphysema patients given lifeline

People suffering from advanced emphysema have shown remarkable improvement in the quality of life by the insertion of a coil into the lungs.

An American company has extended a lifeline to more than 15 million people worldwide who suffer from advanced emphysema, a chronic, debilitating disease most commonly brought on by years of smoking.

Emphysema causes irreversible damage to delicate lung tissue, leading to shortness of breath and even feelings of suffocation that result in reduced quality of life.

Emphysema is medically characterised by reduced lung function, increased lung volume and loss of the lung's natural elastic properties, which makes breathing very difficult.

As the disease progresses and the lung's natural elastic properties are destroyed, excess air is trapped in the lungs, making it difficult for the person to exhale. This process is known as hyperinflation and is responsible for the feeling of being "short of breath". 

Compressing lung tissue

PneumRx, a leading American company in interventional pulmonology, said that a product, called the RePneu LVRC, works by compressing the hyperinflated lung tissue to reduce volume, while helping to restore the lung's natural elastic recoil.

The coil also helps hold open the lung's airways, preventing airway collapse that causes air trapping and hyper-inflation.

To insert the coil involves a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure and most patients are able to return home the following day and to date 1 500 procedures have been performed, involving more than 15 000.

In addition to being commercially available in Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Turkey, the device is currently undergoing a multi-faceted cost-effectiveness study in France, supported by the French ministry of health.

Therapy of choice

The device is rapidly becoming the therapy of choice for emphysema patients in European markets because of its ability to treat a broad range of emphysema patients without requiring any complex diagnostic evaluation.

The coil does not block airways, prevent distal access, or destroy lung tissue, but instead provides a simple mechanical solution designed both to treat the key physiologic effects of emphysema and to overcome the key challenges of emphysema treatment.

The  European Respiratory Society meeting in Barcelona, Spain, found that the coil was unique in its ability to treat patients with both heterogeneous and homogeneous emphysema, in both upper and lower lobes, in patients with residual volume of 175% predicted and above. In addition, the RePneu LVRC works independently of collateral ventilation and is performed in a gentle, well-tolerated procedure with a rapid recovery period.

The coil is also used extensively in the Netherlands and the UK.

Dr Dirk-Jan Slebos, of the University Medical Centre in Groningen, in the Netherlands, has implanted over 1 000 coils in emphysema patients and is expected to treat 40 people this year in a 315-patient, multicentre pivotal study, called Renew.

The results of the study will be submitted for commercial approval of the RePneu LVRC in the US.

Safe and effective treatment

Also participating in the study is Dr Pallav Shah of the Royal Brompton and Hareford National Hospital Trust and the Chelsea and Westminster National Hospital Trust in London.

Dr Shah previously participated in a multi-centre, controlled study of the LVRC in the UK (the Reset Study) and the results were published in The Lancet Respiratory earlier this year.

Among the findings in that study, people treated with the RePneu LVRC showed statistically and clinically significant improvements in exercise capacity (6MWT), lung function (FEV1, residual volume), and quality of life (SGRQ) as compared to patients who had received top-class medical care, but no LVRC procedures.

This rapid adoption of the RePneu LVRC technology is generating a growing body of data that shows that the RePneu Coil consistently provides safe and effective treatment to a broad range of emphysema patients.

Interventional pulmonologists

Seven interventional pulmonologists from Germany, France, Italy, the UK and the Netherlands presented study data demonstrating the safety and effectiveness of the RePneu LVRC. In addition, a symposium on the RePneu LVRC technology, featuring presentations by interventional pulmonologists from Germany, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland, generated a significant amount of interest.

More information: or as well as

Press release from PneumRx

Photo: Emphysema sufferer from Shutterstock


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.