Breathe Easy again with Endoscopic Lung Volume Reduction in Naples, FL

Emphysema is a common type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that can cause shortness of breath, coughing and other unpleasant symptoms. Most commonly, emphysema is caused by smoking. If you have a severe case of emphysema, it can greatly affect your ability to complete your daily activities and exercise and can have a profound effect on your quality of life. At Meliora Healthcare, we offer a minimally invasive procedure called endoscopic lung volume reduction that can shrink down diseased lung tissue, improve lung function, and greatly improve symptoms of breathlessness.

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What Is Endoscopic Lung Volume Reduction (ELVR)?

Patients with severe COPD and emphysema often suffer from air trapping or hyperinflation of their lungs that results in shortness of breath. Endoscopic Lung Volume Reduction is an advanced bronchoscopy procedure where tiny, one-way valves are inserted by a bronchoscope (thin, flexible tube with a light and camera) into the windpipes that supply diseased portions (lobes) of the lungs. BLVR improves lung function and quality of life with benefits such as: 

  • Reduced lung volume without removing sections of lung tissue
  • Expansion of healthy sections of lung, which improves breathing
  • Less shortness of breath
  • Increased ability to do exercise and daily activities
  • Option of removing valves in cases of complications
  • Lower risk of complication as compared to surgery
  • Faster recovery time

Who Needs ELVR?

You may be a good candidate for ELVR if you meet the following criteria: 

  • Have a confirmed diagnosis of COPD/emphysema.
  • Have symptoms of breathlessness even after taking your medications and inhalers as prescribed.
  • Have poor lung function (FEV1 < 50%); if you are not smoking or are willing to quit smoking.
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What Should I Expect?

  • Before your ELVR procedure, you will likely need to take several steps in preparation. This can include undergoing pulmonary function testing (PFT), simple pulmonary stress testing (six-minute walk), arterial blood gas (ABG), ultrasound of the heart (echocardiogram), right heart catheterization, and an ELVR protocol CT scan of the chest.
  • You will be told not to eat after midnight the night before (or about 8 hours before) the procedure.
  • You will also receive instructions about taking your regular medicines, not smoking, and removing any dentures before the procedure. Be sure to ask about stopping any medications that thin the blood or prevent clotting.
  • You will be under the care of an anesthesiology team that will monitor your heart rate, oxygen levels, blood pressure, and breathing and will also manage the intravenous sedation that you will be receiving. You will be intubated (have a breathing tube in place) for the duration of the procedure.
  • You will be lying down on a procedure bed with the head of the bed tilted up slightly. The bronchoscope is placed through the breathing tube, then advanced slowly into the airways and lungs where the valves are deployed.

What happens after the procedure?

You will be admitted to the hospital for at least 3 days following the procedure so that your pulmonary team can monitor you closely for any potential and serious complications.

You'll need to rest at home following discharge for at least two or three days before easing back into your normal routine. Additionally, it's best to wait around a week before you participate in strenuous physical activity.

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Endoscopic Lung Volume Reduction FAQ

Are there alternatives to ELVR?

How long does ELVR typically take?

Is ELVR safe?

Is it covered by insurance?

Are there alternatives to ELVR?

Lung volume reduction surgery is an alternative procedure performed by a thoracic surgeon, however this procedure requires cutting and incisions, is not minimally invasive and may come with higher risks. Other alternatives are lifestyle changes, oxygen therapy, prescribed medications, and pulmonary rehabilitation.

How long does ELVR typically take?

Most procedures are completed within 1 hour.

Is ELVR safe?

Generally speaking, the procedure is safe. As mentioned above, you will be admitted to the hospital after the procedure for close monitoring for complications. There are 2 major risks. The first is air leak or lung collapse (pneumothorax) which occurs in up to roughly 26% of patients but is easily managed. The second is pneumonia after the procedure which occurs in less than 5% of patients.

Is it covered by insurance?

You will need to check with your insurance company, however the procedure is typically covered for those who qualify for the procedure.

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