On October 29, 2012, Perry Waldrop, a 55 year old Alabama resident, became the first person in the United States to undergo an investigational lung volume reduction procedure known as AeriSeal. Currently approved in parts of Europe and Israel, the technique is now being tested in clinical trials throughout Europe and the United States as a viable treatment option for people with COPD who have advanced stages of emphysema.
The AeriSeal system achieves lung volume reduction without the risks of traditional, invasive lung volume reduction surgery. While the patient is sedated, the AeriSeal foam is injected into the diseased parts of the lungs through a tiny tube called a bronchoscope. The sealant reduces lung volume by shrinking the damaged areas of the lungs, creating more space for healthy lung tissue to function more efficiently. The technique aspires to ease the work of breathing, while improving symptoms and quality of life.
Although Waldrop, who remains on supplemental oxygen, says he notices some improvement, he longs for the day that he can leave his oxygen tank at home and get back to a normal, active lifestyle without running out of energy.
If you're interested in participating in an AeriSeal clinical trial in your area, you must first answer a pre-screening questionnaire to determine your eligibility. Once you've answered the questions, you are informed immediately whether or not you meet preliminary criteria necessary for participation. If you do, you can fill out the information sheet and someone from a study center near you will contact you.
For more information about AeriSeal and to see an animated video of the procedure, visit The AeriSeal System.