• Vol. 29 No. 1, 127–131
  • 15 January 2000

Active Management of a Patient with Endstage Pulmonary Emphysema Using Lung Volume Reduction Surgery and Intensive Rehabilitation



Introduction: Lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) and pulmonary rehabilitation are newer options available in the treatment of advanced emphysema. We describe the progress of our first local patient to have undergone these 2 new treatment modalities.

Clinical Picture: A 65-year-old man with advanced emphysema, limited by crippling dyspnoea despite maximal medical therapy with inhaled bronchodilator therapy, methylxanthines and supplementary oxygen.

Treatment: Physical reconditioning with a 4-week inpatient pulmonary rehabilitation programme, followed by LVRS and a further 6-week outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation.

Outcome: Dramatic improvements in spirometric indices, arterial blood gases, exercise capacity and overall functional status. Improvements maintained at one-year follow up period.

Conclusions: LVRS with pulmonary rehabilitation is an exciting new treatment option in a select group of patients with advanced emphysema. Their role in improving overall performance status and quality of life should be considered in patients otherwise considered to have reached the limits of medical therapy.

A 65-year-old Chinese man with a 30-pack year history of cigarette smoking was referred to our institution for further management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Despite smoking cessation for 5 years, and pharmacological treatment with oral theophylline, inhaled ipratropium bromide and ventolin, his dyspnoea had progressed to the extent that he was unable to administer self-care.

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