Semin Respir Crit Care Med 2015; 36(04): 592-608
DOI: 10.1055/s-0035-1556064
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Surgical Approaches to Treating Emphysema: Lung Volume Reduction Surgery, Bullectomy, and Lung Transplantation

Nathaniel Marchetti
1  Department of Thoracic Medicine and Surgery, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
,
Gerard J. Criner
1  Department of Thoracic Medicine and Surgery, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
03 August 2015 (online)

Abstract

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common and morbid progressive disease where treatment is focused on improving dyspnea, reducing exacerbations, attenuating comorbidities, and improving quality of life. Surgical therapy can be beneficial to a carefully selected subset of individuals and is the subject of this review. The National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT) has not only demonstrated the efficacy of lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) but has also provided many lessons regarding advanced emphysema. NETT demonstrated that LVRS improves exercise performance, quality of life, and pulmonary function in those with upper lobe predominant emphysema in the setting of advanced disease. Those with upper lobe predominant emphysema and low exercise tolerance also had a survival advantage compared with maximal medical therapy. Careful patient selection is paramount to success, as there clearly are patients in whom LVRS increases mortality. Giant bullae are rare, but bullectomy has been demonstrated to improve dyspnea and lung function in cases where the bulla occupies at least one-third of the hemithorax and compresses some adjacent lung tissue. For patients with chronic respiratory failure due to COPD who have not improved despite maximal surgical and medical therapy, lung transplantation remains an option in those without significant comorbid conditions.