A new treatment for COPD could postpone the need for a lung transplant

 

An innovative treatment for COPD - Lung Volume Reduction (LVR) Coils - was used for the first time to treat a patient awaiting lung transplant.
RePneu coils are made from Nitinol, a shape-memory alloy commonly used in medical implants such as stents. The cords are inserted into the lungs using a bronchoscope. They gently shrink the injured pulmonary tissue and stabilize the airways in an open position to ease breathing. The procedure was done at Shaare Zedek Medical Center's (SZMC) Pulmonary Institute for the first time earlier this year. 

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder) causes blocking of the bronchi and slowly destroys the lung tissue. Patients lose their lung functions twice faster than healthy people. 
Ilana Ben Dror, a COPD patient, has been confined to a wheelchair connected to an oxygen tank for the past 7 years. Due to the severity of her illness, she has been placed on the lung transplant list, but she kept dreaming of the day when she'll be able to walk and perform simple tasks without needing oxygen. The new procedure could give her all that and spare her the need for a transplant. 
Prof. Gabriel Izbicki, Director of SZMC's Pulmonary Institute, explains: "even though the patient's condition is progressive and her lung functions are very low, we made a mutual decision to perform this innovative treatment. Two months ago we inserted 10 coils into her right lung and a few days later Ilana was already able to stand up and walk short distances. A lung functions test that we performed before the last procedure showed improvement, and the patient is already able to walk bout 150 meters, dress herself and do things that for years were out of her reach. In Ilana's words - she went back to enjoying life. This week we inserted coils into her left lung. The procedure was successful and could help her function without the need for a lung transplant in the next few years, and maybe even for the rest of her life".

Pictured: Ilana Ben Dror and Prof. Gabriel Izbicki, 48 hours after the procedure.

 

Ilana Ben Dror and Prof. Gabriel Izbicki