Airway Procedure Improves COPD Symptoms

iStock

In a phase II clinical trial, targeted lung denervation (TLD), a procedure used to open the airways, was shown to be safe and effective in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This double-blind clinical trial, called AIRFLOW 2, is ongoing and involves COPD patients at several medical centers in six European countries. The first results were presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress 2018.

In this study, COPD patients are randomized to receive TLD or a sham procedure. In targeted lung denervation, a bronchoscope is used to pass a catheter into the lungs, after which a doctor delivers radiofrequency energy to nerves outside the airways, disrupting their normal function. This causes the airways to relax and open, lessening inflammation and reducing the amount of excess mucus. In the sham procedure, no electrical charge is delivered to the nerves. Both procedures are performed under general anesthesia.

According to the researchers, TLD reduced COPD symptoms like shortness of breath and complications — exacerbations and infections requiring hospitalization, for example — by more than 50 percent compared to the sham procedure in 82 patients. In a 3- to 6-month follow-up, 71 percent of study participants who underwent the sham treatment had an adverse respiratory event related to their COPD compared to 32 percent of those who received TLD. Patients undergoing TLD also experienced improved quality of life and better lung function.

There were no side effects requiring treatment in either group, but five of the 82 patients who had TLD experienced temporary nausea, bloating, and digestive discomfort.

Sourced from: American Journal of Managed Care