Clinical management of lung volume reduction in end stage emphysema patients
Following the evaluation of surgical lung volume reduction (LVR) in the National Emphysema Treatment (NETT) trial, different endoscopic LVR procedures have been developed for severe emphysema. Among those, endobronchial valve placement is the best evaluated method. All these therapies aim at reducing hyperinflation and at improving respiratory mechanics. It has been shown that these procedures can improve quality of life, lung function and exercise capacity in a significant and clinically meaningful way in suitable patients. Optimal medical therapy, physical rehabilitation, smoking cessation and respiratory insufficiency assessments should been thoroughly evaluated by a multi-disciplinary team before considering any LVR procedure. Clinical experience is necessary to decide if a patient is an appropriate candidate for a surgical or an interventional LVR procedure, to choose the optimal treatment strategy and to provide a highlevel of care after the intervention, particularly when complications such as pneumothorax or persistent air leak occur in this already severely ill patient population. High volume emphysema care centers, providing a broad spectrum of different LVR procedures and involving a multidisciplinary team in the diagnostic process, are best suited to provide an optimal outcome. The aim of this manuscript is to describe the structures and procedures required to achieve the best possible outcome even in patients with advanced stage of their emphysema disease, including patients who are candidates for lung transplantation.