Emphysema is a form of lung disease that limits the amount of air you can breathe out. Your lungs are two large sacs filled with smaller sacs. These smaller sacs are attached to small airways. Emphysema causes the destruction of these smaller sacs.
Patients with emphysema are usually smokers. Stopping smoking is the most critical part of treating emphysema and may determine your treatment options.
Watch a short video about emphysema.
Emphysema is caused by:
Symptoms of emphysema include:
To create an individualized treatment plan your doctor will want to determine if you have emphysema. Your doctor will:
The primary treatment for emphysema is medication and lifestyle modification programs, including a smoking cessation program. Stopping smoking is the most important part of emphysema treatment, as it is the only way to stop the damage from occurring to the lungs.
Factors in Surgical Intervention
If the emphysema continues to progress, your doctors may recommend surgery called lung volume reduction surgery, or LVRS. This procedure can help those patients with end-stage emphysema.
LVRS is performed by our team of experienced thoracic surgeons at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. By removing small portions, or wedges, of the upper lobes, the lungs work more efficiently at breathing. This enables patients to function with fewer symptoms of breathlessness.