First-Of-Its-Kind Nationwide Emphysema Research Study Underway

As part of a medical research study sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, in collaboration with the Health Care Financing Administration, which manages Medicare, medical experts nationwide are screening emphysema patients for the National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT). This medical research study is designed to evaluate if lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) has a role in the treatment of patients with emphysema.

An estimated 16 million people in the United States suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a family of lung diseases characterized by an obstruction to airflow. Emphysema, a common form of COPD, affects nearly 2 million Americans, most of whom are over the age of 50. In the disease, the tiny air sacs in the lungs called alveoli are damaged, causing the lungs, which normally stretch as a person breathes in, to lose their elasticity. Damaged alveoli trap air in the lungs, making it difficult for the person to breathe.

The NETT study is seeking to enroll 2,500 patients. These patients will receive six to 10 weeks of medical treatment and may then be randomly assigned to receive either surgery with medical treatment or medical treatment alone.

LVRS involves removal of up to 30 percent of a patient's emphysematous lung tissue. Medical treatment provides patients with medications, specific exercise and breathing techniques, nutrition counseling and stress management strategies.

NETT is seeking emphysema patients who have stopped smoking or are willing to stop to participate in the study. Patients must be on Medicare, or their private insurance carrier must be willing to support their participation. Each potential participant must undergo a series of exercise, breathing and medical tests at one of the 19 NETT medical research centers nationwide.

Patients interested in participating in this medical research study should call 1-800-314-2596 or visit for more information. (NAPSI)

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