New lung implant could help emphysema sufferers - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

New lung implant could help emphysema sufferers

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It's a disease that literally takes your breath away, but there's a potential breakthrough that could significantly reduce the severity of emphysema.

Art Greiner started smoking at 9 years old, decades later, he is paying the price.

"I would have to stop every three or four words and catch my breath. It was very difficult to do anything strenuous,” he said.

Quitting smoking helped dramatically, but he still suffered from emphysema because the smoking had destroyed spaces in the walls inside his lung

"When you destroy lung tissue you lose the elasticity within your lung,” Dr. Joseph Cicenia with the Cleveland Clinic said.

Stiffer lungs don't use oxygen as well and they don't recoil after a breath.
It's why Art struggled for air; until a new treatment called renew.

Doctors inserted slinky-like metal coils right into Art's lung.

"Just as springs are elastic they give that elasticity back to the lungs. It allows for more efficient air flow to occur through the lung,” Cicenia said.

More oxygen and easier to breathe; for Art the results were immediate.

"My stomach was more relaxed, I didn't have any pain in my abdomen, or my diaphragm wasn't compressed. I was like 'wow this is too cool,’” he said.

More study is clearly needed, but it's showing promise.

The coils stay in permanently and don't impact medications or prevent treatments like surgery.

"I can inhale deeply. I didn't have problems anymore. It was amazing,” Greiner said.

Smoking is the leading cause of emphysema.
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