Emphysema: A New Way to Predict Treatment Outcomes

Boston University researchers Professor Béla Suki (left) and TRB Fellow Jarred Mondoñedo have developed a computer model of emphysema that could help predict patient survival and quality of life following treatment.  Their model suggests that a less-invasive treatment called bronchoscopic lung volume reduction (bLVR) performs as well as, or better than, traditional lung volume reduction surgery, and also suggests a mechanism that explains, for the first time, why this is the case. The model also confirms previous findings that the procedures work best for patients who are affected only in specific parts of their lungs, rather than evenly throughout the lung tissue.  Suki and Mondoñedo hope their model may someday help physicians and patients decide which procedure will work best for each individual. “If you could take a CT scan of a patient and then somehow fit that data into our network model, you could develop a strategy based on that particular patient, rather than one-size-fits-all,” says Mondoñedo. “In that way I think it could translate into clinics and enhance care.”

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