Emphysema: a breathing topic for TUH study

TUH, which was recently ranked as a top hospital for pulmonology, published results of a new study.

TUH, which was recently ranked as a top hospital for pulmonology, published results of a new study.

Temple University Hospital, which was recently recognized for its lung programs, took part in a multi-center, national study in which TUH conducted a series of clinical trials to study better methods of treating emphysema.

The study, named “Endobronchial Valve for Emphysema Palliation Trial,” or VENT, was published Sept. 23 in the New England Journal of Medicine. Designed to reduce the size of diseased parts of the lung and improve lung function, the new procedure involves inserting small valves into the lungs to deflate diseased parts and help healthier parts control more ventilation.

Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Dr. Gerard J. Criner, a professor at the School of Medicine, co-authored the study.

“At Temple, we were the first to do a prospective randomized controlled trial on the effects of lung volume reduction surgery versus optimized medical care in patients with severe hyperinflation due to advanced emphysema, and showed a positive effect,” Criner said.

There were 31 sites for the study. Temple led the protocol development, study analysis and publication.

The study was not without its challenges, Criner explained.

“Patient recruitment is always an issue with clinical trials,” he said. “This patient population is sick and has multiple flare-ups of the underlying disease, called exacerbations, and special care and attention is required.”

The study reported the improvement of 321 emphysema patients, 220 of whom received the endobronchial valves (EBVs). In the six-month period, patients with the valves showed improvements, with the valves appearing most helpful in patients with the severest forms of the disease. The hope for this study is that it will eliminate the use of oxygen tanks for emphysema.

TUH, which is participating in several different studies on this subject, leads the Mid-Atlantic Consortium for the Long-Term Oxygen Treatment Trial, as well as a study that focuses on the genetic factors that lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, called “COPD Gene.”

The hospital’s involvement in this research also extends to the “Statins in COPD Exacerbations” study, also known as STATCOPE, a clinical trial for Simvastin, a drug that aims to lessen COPD flare-ups, along with a National Institute of Health-funded study that will research the usefulness of home oxygen therapy for COPD patients in the next six years.

The accepted treatment for emphysema is currently lung volume reduction surgery, which cuts out diseased parts of the lungs. VENT strives to promote the use of EBVs, which are only available in European clinics.

U.S. News and World Report recently ranked TUH one of the nation’s top hospitals for pulmonology.

“Hopefully it will treat hyperinflation, the major physiological problem that plagues emphysema patients, with a less invasive and effective treatment option,” Criner said.

Mark Lauterbach can be reached at mark.lauterbach@temple.edu.


  1. We Emphysema patients sure could use some good news. Is the enrollment still open?
    Are out of State patients accepted?

  2. The VENT trial is closed to enrollment. The decision to participate in any type of research should be made only after the subject has a good understanding of the risks and potential benefits of the trial as well as alternatives to participating in the study. Individuals might also want to discuss clinical trial participation with friends, family members, or their primary care provider. Medical centers generally accept patients from outside their immediate geographic area. Information on how to schedule an appointment is usually available on the institution’s web site.

  3. perhaps some of the methods NASA uses to keep our astronauts breathing in outer-space could be applied to COPD research.

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