About COPD and Emphysema

About COPD and Emphysema

COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease refers to a group of diseases in which airflow in the lungs is blocked, making it hard to breathe. Emphysema is one of these diseases.

To understand emphysema, it is important to understand how lungs work. With every breath, lungs deliver oxygen to the rest of the body to perform essential life functions. Lungs are made up of tiny air sacs which absorb the oxygen in the air you breathe. In patients with emphysema, these air sacs are gradually destroyed and lose their elastic strength, which makes it difficult for air to exit the air sacs. This allows air to become trapped in the most diseased areas of the lungs. The trapped air interferes with the function of the healthier areas of the lung, which adds to difficulty in breathing.

Treatment Choices

Doctors now treat emphysema with drugs, oxygen, or in some cases, surgery. Surgery may not be appropriate for some patients, depending on their health status. Only your doctor can advise you on the appropriate therapy.

The IBV Valve System

The IBV Valve System is a non-surgical treatment for emphysema which is being investigated. The IBV Valve is a small, umbrella shaped, one-way valve that is placed inside the airways of a lung.

It is used to redirect air from the less healthy to the more healthy parts of the lung. This may help to reduce over-inflation while letting trapped air and fluids escape. The volume of the treated part of the lung may be reduced, allowing healthier parts of the lung to expand and function more normally. This may reduce over-inflation and may improve overall lung function and quality of life for people living with emphysema.


For more information on COPD and emphysema, please visit the following web sites:

American Lung Association

American Thoracic Society Patient Education

COPD Foundation

Emphysema Foundation for our Right to Survive

Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease

MedLine Plus

National Emphysema Foundation

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute

National Lung Health Education Program

Download Patient Guide

Over-Inflated Lung

Diseased Parts Reduce,
Healthier Parts Expand