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Proc Am Thorac Soc. 2008 May 1;5(4):416-20. doi: 10.1513/pats.200708-117ET.

Physiologic basis for improved pulmonary function after lung volume reduction.

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Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.


It is not readily apparent how pulmonary function could be improved by resecting portions of the lung in patients with emphysema. In emphysema, elevation in residual volume relative to total lung capacity reduces forced expiratory volumes, increases inspiratory effort, and impairs inspiratory muscle mechanics. Lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) better matches the size of the lungs to the size of the thorax containing them. This restores forced expiratory volumes and the mechanical advantage of the inspiratory muscles. In patients with heterogeneous emphysema, LVRS may also allow space occupied by cysts to be reclaimed by more normal lung. Newer, bronchoscopic methods for lung volume reduction seek to achieve similar ends by causing localized atelectasis, but may be hindered by the low collateral resistance of emphysematous lung. Understanding of the mechanisms of improved function after LVRS can help select patients more likely to benefit from this approach.

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