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Targeted Lung Denervation for COPD Safe Up to 3 Years


August 07, 2018

Patients who underwent a novel bronchoscopic therapy for moderate-to-severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) did not experience worsening of symptoms over the next year, according to a study published in the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

The therapeutic procedure, called targeted lung denervation (TLD), aims to achieve permanent bronchodilation in patients with COPD by ablating the parasympathetic pulmonary nerves that run along the outside of the 2 main bronchi, researchers explained. 

In a previous study, targeted lung denervation was deemed reasonably safe when lungs were treated in separate procedures. The current study, which involved 15 patients with moderate-to-severe COPD, treated both lungs in a single procedure.

“Investigators hypothesized that this would be the preferred way to treat in the future and would result in added safety over treatment staging,” researchers wrote, “mainly due to reduced exposure to anesthesia and reduced risk of exacerbations induced by bronchoscopy.”

The newest study found no procedural complications with single-session TLD and achieved its primary safety endpoint, freedom from worsening of COPD for 1 year, in all 15 patients. Compared with long-acting anticholinergic therapy, TLD without bronchodilators demonstrated similar benefits in both lung function analysis and exercise capacity at 30 days, 180 days, 365 days, 2 years, and 3 years after the procedure.

Of 12 serious adverse events reported over 3 years of follow up, 5 were respiratory related, according to the study, and none were related to TLD therapy.

“This intervention study,” researchers concluded, “adds to the early body of evidence confirming the feasibility and safety of TLD in patients with symptomatic moderate-to-severe COPD.”

Jolynn Tumolo


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