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NINE NEWS – Lung Volume Reduction with Valves for Severe COPD

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Emphysema sufferers can breathe a little easier with the help of a non-surgical procedure which takes around 15 minutes.

Doctors at Epworth Eastern Hospital in Melbourne are helping patients breathe better with the use of small plastic valves.

In severe emphysema, gas gets trapped in diseased parts of the lungs, causing over-inflation and breathlessness.

Small plastic valves are guided into the lungs via a camera allow the trapped gas to be released.

“The more healthy parts of the lungs can take over and do their job better,” Epworth Lung Specialist Dr Nick Wilsmore said.

In some cases respiratory function can be boosted by up to 25 percent.

Doctors at Epworth Eastern Hospital are able to complete the procedure in around 15 minutes. (9NEWS)

Emphysema sufferer Roy Eagleton often struggles to breathe when undertaking normal tasks such as having a shower.

The 80-year-old smoked during his younger years in an era when the dangers of cigarettes were not as well understood.

“It was an accepted thing, if you didn’t smoke you weren’t with it, you weren’t cool,” he said.

In some cases, respiratory function can be boosted by up to 25 percent. (9NEWS)

Doctors permanently inserted three of the plastic valves into Mr Eagleton’s lungs.

The procedure is not a cure but has boosted both his airflow and his outlook. “Instead of having to sit down and weed the garden, I can stand up,” he said.

Published: 9th March, 2015