Interventional pulmonology in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

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Purpose of review

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema are widespread diseases associated with progressive dyspnea because of airflow limitation and hyperinflation. Fundamental therapeutic strategies consist of pulmonary rehabilitation, pharmacotherapy, long-term oxygen therapy, noninvasive ventilation, and surgical therapeutic approaches.

Recent findings

In the last 14 years, endoscopic therapeutic modalities emerged as a substantial part of severe COPD and emphysema treatment. Techniques of the endoscopic lung volume reduction (ELVR) aim at reduction of hyperinflation. Thereby, the reversible valve implantation of which the efficacy was confirmed in various randomized controlled trials (RCT) results in lobar volume reduction and clinical benefit in emphysema patients with absent interlobar collateral ventilation. Nonblocking ELVR methods that are independent of collateral ventilation include the partially irreversible coil implantation leading to parenchymal compression, the irreversible bronchoscopic thermal vapor ablation and polymeric lung volume reduction both inducing inflammatory reaction. The nonblocking methods have been examined in only a few RCTs. The targeted lung denervation as a novel bronchoscopic therapy for COPD patients aims at sustainable bronchodilation by ablation of parasympathetic pulmonary nerves.


The review summarizes the various endoscopic treatment approaches for managment of COPD and emphysema, their mechanism of action, their complications and the current available results of the most important RCTs.

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