Delayed functional improvement after near-fatal bleeding complication following endobronchial valve therapy for emphysema
Endoscopic treatment of emphysema is supported by different methods, including valves, coils and sealants. The mechanism is mainly related to volume reduction of targeted area. Endobronchial valves (EBV) appear the most studied method. In a multicentre randomised study, placement of unidirectional endobronchial valves resulted in a statistically significant functional improvement in the treated cohort compared to the control. Adverse events, occurring post procedure, included COPD exacerbations, haemoptysis, pneumothorax and pneumonia. In our centre we treated 30 patients, between January 2009 and February 2012, with variable improvement of lung function and only mild postoperative complications. The case we report here appears very interesting for the unusual near-fatal complication (massive alveolar haemorrage) followed by delayed strong functional improvement (FEV1 +23%; RV -18%; 6MWD:+33%) six months after the valve placement. This improvement could be attributable to the EBV procedure, but an alternative explanation is that the lung volume reduction may have been enhanced by the complication itself, as an effect of alveolar collapse.
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