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Annu Rev Med. 1997;48:387-98.

Recent advances in surgery for emphysema.

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  • 1Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63310, USA.


Volume reduction surgery is based on the removal of volume-occupying but nonfunctioning emphysematous lung, which is thought to improve pulmonary elastic recoil. The reduction in thoracic volume may also improve thoracic cage and inspiratory muscle function. In addition, dyspnea is lessened, exercise tolerance is increased, and measured pulmonary function is improved. Alveolar gas exchange may also be improved. Selection criteria include marked airway obstruction secondary to emphysema, marked hyperinflation of the chest wall, and regional heterogeneity in the distribution of the emphysema. The best results are obtained with a bilateral procedure utilizing stapling resection. The two surgical approaches are median sternotomy and video-assisted thoracic surgery.

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