COPD and pulmonary emphysema

COPD is a collective term for chronic lung diseases based on inflamed and permanently constricted airways. These include chronic obstructive bronchitis and emphysema.

In Germany alone, approximately 6.8 million people suffer from COPD. One of the main causes of this disease is smoking, which particularly promotes the development of emphysema. As a result of the reduction of the elastic fibres in the lung tissue combined with an inflammatory narrowing of the small airways, the air escapes less and less when you breathe out: the lungs become over-inflated and healthy alveoli are destroyed. If this over-inflation of the lungs is very pronounced, it is often hardly possible for those affected to exert themselves without breathing difficulties.  

The right diganostic

We use the following examinations to determine how far COPD or over-inflation of the lungs has progressed and which therapy is best for you:

  • Lung function test
  • Stress test (6-minute walking test or spiroergometry)
  • Blood gas analysis
  • Computer tomography of the lungs
  • Lung Scintigraphy
  • Bronchoscopy with airflow measurement
  • Ultrasound examination of the heart

Tailor-made for you: Our range of treatments

Depending on the severity of the disease, several treatment methods are available. We will clarify which procedure is suitable for you in a detailed discussion based on your examination results.

A variety of bronchial-expanding and anti-inflammatory drugs are available. Different application systems allow individual drug settings, especially in the important field of inhalation therapy.

 

Patients in advanced stages of COPD often need an additional oxygen supply. Blood gas analyses at rest and under stress can clarify the need. Additional sleep medical examinations can also be used to determine the need for nocturnal oxygen supply.

If, in the context of COPD, an increase in carbon dioxide in the blood occurs due to exhaustion of the important respiratory muscles, respiratory support through nightly home mask ventilation may be necessary and relieve shortness of breath.

This is a non-surgical procedure that is suitable for advanced emphysema patients with pronounced but definable pulmonary hyperinflation. In a lung endoscopy, we insert valves into the airway branches (bronchia) of the over-inflated lung sections. The valves close on inhalation and open on exhalation. This causes the diseased parts of the lung to shrink and the healthy parts to expand again. The treatment is carried out under a short anaesthesia, the patient does not notice the insertion of the valves.

 

Patients for whom neither valves nor coils promise an improvement in exercise capacity with pronounced emphysema may benefit from surgical therapy. This is especially possible in the presence of larger blisters (bullae). Through close cooperation with our thoracic surgery department, further treatment options are thus exploited.

Continued good care: your further treatment / aftercare In order to keep a constant eye on the improvement of your complaints, we carry out regular check-ups at the clinic or in consultation with your family doctor or resident lung specialist. In addition to a further consistent inhalation therapy with medication that expands the narrowed bronchial tubes, physical training to strengthen the respiratory muscles as well as a further strict nicotine withdrawal is of great importance (link Lung sports and smoking cessation). A pneumological rehabilitation measure often proves to be useful. We will be happy to support you in your application to the pension insurance or health insurance company.