Australian researchers are recruiting volunteers aged 40 and over living with severe emphysema for their study of a new two-step procedure for the devastating lung disease.
COVE is an Australian study looking at the safety and effectiveness of a first-in-man procedure for people with severe emphysema, who suffer from ‘collateral ventilation’ – a flow of air between the lobes of the lung that bypasses the normal airways.
Currently, Australians living with severe emphysema with collateral ventilation face limited treatment options due to the structure of their lungs, and as a result many continue to experience disabling symptoms and major disruptions in their daily lives.
With collateral ventilation occurring in 62% of people with severe emphysema, the COVE study hopes to expand treatment options for this group of patients.
Exploration of new treatments is essential to improve the lives of people with emphysema.
“Without proper management and treatment, emphysema can lead to difficulty breathing and speaking, a blue tint to the skin from lack of oxygen, regular lung infections, and can even cause heart failure,” she said. Dr Alam.
“These symptoms can affect a patient’s physical and emotional well-being, with up to one in three Australians living with emphysema reporting some level of disability due to the lung disease.
“Given the limited treatment options currently available for people with severe emphysema, particularly those who benefit from collateral ventilation, we hope to address this unmet need by investigating a new treatment option as part of the ‘COVE study.’
The researchers aim to enroll more than 20 Australians living with severe emphysema into the COVE study by October 31, 2022.
With emphysema, the air sacs in the lungs are damaged and destroyed, causing the lungs to lose their natural elasticity.
As severe emphysema progresses and symptoms worsen, affected individuals may find daily activities increasingly difficult.
Wife, grandmother of seven and Cranbourne COVE study participant, Cecilia, was diagnosed with emphysema nearly 30 years ago.
She said living with severe emphysema is “physically and mentally debilitating”.
“Not being able to breathe is terrifying,” Cecilia said.
“There were times when I was so scared that I was out of breath that I was too scared to move. It’s also demoralizing not being able to take care of myself.
Cecilia chose to participate in clinical studies on emphysema to help inform additional treatment options for the disease.
“Nothing in life is guaranteed. But participating in a clinical study can help me and others living with this devastating disease.
Although there is currently no cure for emphysema, effective treatment and management can slow the disease, extend the number of years a person is expected to live, and manage symptoms to improve his quality of life.
The COVE study will examine the safety and effectiveness of combining the following two medical procedures, four weeks apart:
* Video Assisted Thoracic Fissure Surgery (VATS) Completion – A surgical procedure to completely close the fissure structure in the affected lung, blocking the airflow between the different lobes.
* Insertion of Endobronchial Valves (EBV) – a minimally invasive procedure involving the insertion of small, one-way EBVs into the diseased part of the lung where the fissure was completed.
Six months after EBV insertion, study researchers will measure each participant’s lung function, lung volume, exercise tolerance, shortness of breath, and quality of life (QoL) scores.
St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne and St Vincent’s Private Hospital Melbourne are currently recruiting for the COVE study. Study participants must travel to one of these Melbourne locations. Patients living with severe emphysema located outside of Victoria can ask their GP to refer them to one of the selected hospitals in Brisbane, Sydney, Launceston and Adelaide, to help determine if they can participate in the COVE study.
To find out more, or to register your interest in the COVE study, go to covestudy.com.au or email [email protected]