sutures newsletter


P and T Approvals, FDA Warnings

Pharmacy Focus

See highlights of the Oct. 7 meeting of the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee. Also, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings about lenalidomide, duloxetine hydrochloride, alglucosidase alfa and methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta.

Mark Your Calendar

Grand Rounds

Click here to view a schedule of all upcoming grand rounds.

Educational Schedule

Click the PDF link below to see the Department of Surgery's educational schedule.

Educational Schedule - December 2014 (PDF)

Surgery Scheduling

Click the "read more" for hours and contact information for surgery scheduling.

Share Your News

Know an interesting colleague we should profile? A story we should tell? Submit your ideas, meetings and events for consideration.

Click here to submit your news to Sutures

'Lung Coil' Device May Help Emphysema Patients

Robert McKenna Jr., MD

Heather Merry, MD

Cedars-Sinai thoracic surgeons are evaluating an investigational device that, with a relatively simple procedure, could bring significant relief to patients who suffer from severe emphysema.

"The problem with emphysema is that the lungs inflate very well but don't deflate well. There is no cure for the disease, and the options for effective treatment are generally limited to inhalers and oxygen," said Robert McKenna Jr., MD, medical director of Thoracic Surgery and Trauma.

"Lung volume reduction surgery — taking out the most diseased part of the lung to create more room for the healthy sections — does offer certain patients significant improvement of symptoms and quality of life," McKenna said. "But it is surgery, and most patients with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) are not candidates for it."

McKenna says doctors have long sought a minimally invasive procedure that could give more patients the same benefit as an operation.

Throughout 2014, McKenna and thoracic surgeon Heather Merry, MD, have been conducting a randomized prospective study of a device known as a "lung coil," which is inserted into the lungs through the patient's mouth with a bronchoscope. Several coils are used in each lung, and the procedure takes about 30 minutes.

"We look down through the windpipe and implant the devices. The coil is designed to collapse the damaged part of the lung that does not work. The collapse of that ineffective part of the lung makes room for the healthier lung to expand and work better," McKenna said.

The lung coil is inserted into the lungs through the patient's mouth with a bronchoscope. Several coils are used in each lung.

"Most patients who have COPD are not candidates for lung volume reduction surgery, which can help their breathing. They have diffuse, generalized disease throughout their lungs and not disease confined to just one area of the lungs," Merry said. "The lung coil has the potential to open up the therapeutic surgical option to the majority of patients with COPD."

The study is sponsored by PneumRx, the makers of the RePneu Endobronchial Coil used by McKenna and Merry. The multicenter investigation involves medical centers in the U.S., Europe and Canada. The data collected on hundreds of patients will be analyzed to evaluate the lung coil treatment against current best medical management of severe emphysema.