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Health Beat: Lung coils for emphysema

By Melanie Falcon, Anchor / Reporter, @Melanie_Falcon, MFalcon@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 15 2013 02:28:37 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 12 2013 04:47:54 PM CDT

Millions of people struggle to breathe every day because of emphysema.
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Millions of people struggle to breathe every day because of emphysema. Now, a new treatment could be able to help even the most advanced cases.

Emphysema destroys the air sacs in your lungs, making it harder and harder to breathe.

Linda Sachs was passionate about her radio career, but after being diagnosed with emphysema, getting enough air became a big problem. 

"I was afraid I was just going to die because, you know, my lungs were failing me," said Sachs.

Dr. Frank Sciurba, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, is one of several researchers nationwide testing a new, minimally invasive procedure to improve lung function.

Doctors insert 10 small coils into damaged areas of a patient’s lung.  

"The nitanol coils go in the lungs, straight, as straight wires, and then they fold up like a baseball seam. They fold in half, then they fold in half again, and as they do that, they, they bring in the lung," explained Sciurba.

The coils allow the healthier portion of the lung to expand and tighten, helping patients breathe better. 

"This is a trial I’m real hopeful for because I really would like to have a tool that I can offer our more advanced patients," said Sciurba.

Sachs had the procedure and said she felt better right after it. 

"To be able to take more in is just a thrill," she said.

The RENEW coil trial is currently recruiting 315 patients in 30 centers nationwide. You can contact Christine Ledezma, the UPMC Clinical Research coordinator, at 412-864-3368.

DOWNLOAD and VIEW research summary

DOWNLOAD and VIEW the full-length interview with Dr. Frank Sciurba about treating emphysema