New Treatment for Emphysema

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Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 4:29 pm | Updated: 4:41 pm, Wed Jul 3, 2013.

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

Millions of people struggle with it every day, but a new treatment could help many advanced cases.

On-air or selling air, 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."

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Doctor Frank Sciurba is one of several researchers nationwide testing a new minimally invasive procedure to improve lung function. Doctors insert ten 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."

The coils allow the healthier portion of the lung to expand and tighten, helping patients to breathe better. “This is a trial I'm, I'm real hopeful for because I really would like to have a tool that I can offer our more advanced patients."

Linda says she felt better right after her procedure. "To be able to take more in is just a thrill."

The renew coil is still undergoing clinical trials.

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