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Lung Volume Reduction Surgery

OSU Wexner Medical Center is a selected site to perform lung volume reduction surgery


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The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has been selected as one of the locations in the United States able to provide lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) to Medicare beneficiaries.  The approval was granted by the “Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services” (CMS) and was based on a five-year research study (National Emphysema Treatment Trial). Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center was one of 17 centers nationwide that participated in the NETT study which examined the risks, benefits and appropriate selection criteria for the lung volume reduction surgery.

What is lung volume reduction surgery?
This surgery reduces the size of the lungs damaged by emphysema by removing some of the most diseased parts of the lungs. Having LVRS will allow the remaining lung to function more normally.

How do I know if I am candidate for the surgery?
You have to be smoke-free for four months or longer. There are tests that are required by Medicare and the physicians in order to determine if you are a good candidate for the lung volume reduction surgery. These evaluations include:

   -  Breathing tests

   -  Exercise tests

   -  Heart tests

   -  Tests that will take pictures of your lungs

   -  Blood tests

In addition, all patients must participate in a six-10 week pulmonary rehabilitation program prior to the surgery as well as six-10 sessions after LVRS.

Learn more about the Medical Center's Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program

What's involved in the lung volume reduction surgery procedure?
You will be given a general anesthetic that will make you sleep during the surgery. The surgeon will use one of two techniques to perform the surgery:

- Median Sternotomy: opening the chest by the breastbone, similar to the incision used for open heart surgery

- Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery:  using small incisions through the sides of the chest to allow the surgeon to insert instruments between the ribs and into the chest.

The surgeon will determine which technique will be best for performing the surgery when he reviews the tests and meets with you. Approximately 30 percent of each lung will be removed during the surgery.

Are there risks with having lung volume reduction surgery?
As with any surgery, there are risks associated with anesthesia and surgical procedures.

The major risks associated with lung volume reduction surgery include pain, bleeding, infection and prolonged air-leak from surgical site. Potential benefits from the surgery include improved exercise tolerance and less shortness of breath. Some people on oxygen may be able to get off of oxygen. In addition, certain patients may have improved life expectancy as well as quality of life with the surgery.

The diagnostic tests and pulmonary rehabilitation may also have risks associated with them, and those risks will be explained at the time of the respective evaluations and rehabilitation.

What hospital will I stay in after my surgery?
You will stay in Ohio State's Ross Heart Hospital. Learn more about Ross Heart Hospital

What  can I expect after the surgery?
Directly after surgery, you will go to the surgical intensive care unit or the surgical floor unit. There will be tubes in your chest wall that will allow fluid and any air leaks from your lungs to drain. You will receive medicines to ease your pain and your breathing. Pulmonary rehabilitation staff will be working with you to assist you getting out of the bed and walking as early as one day after your operation. Your progress will be closely monitored, and your chest tubes will be removed when there is no more sign of air leaks.

If your recovery has gone well, you should expect to leave the hospital in about seven-10 days. You will be required to return to pulmonary rehabilitation after you are discharged from the hospital and will have to continue with follow-up visits as necessary.

Meet Our LVRS Team
Clinical Program Manager:  Mahasti Rittinger, RRT

Pulmonary Specialist:  Philip T. Diaz, MD  

Thoracic Surgeon:  Patrick Ross, MD, PhD

Thoracic Surgeon:  Susan Moffatt-Bruce, MD, PhD

Patient Care Resource Managers: Lora Dabold, Deborah Heister

Nurse Manager, Ross Heart Hospital Floor 5: Debbie Irwin, RN

Pulmonary Rehab Specialist: Joan Doehrel, RRT

Contact Information
For referrals and/or more information regarding this program, please contact: Mahasti Rittinger at (614) 688-4587 or (614) 293-4925.

Ohio State is recognized by U.S.News & World Report as one of the nation's best hospitals in pulmonology, and Ohio State's Lung Center is the only comprehensive lung and pulmonary center in central Ohio. Schedule an appointment with Ohio State's lung experts. Call 614-293-4925.