I have recently been talking to a friend who has access to certain areas in the Health Service that most of us don't reach. Recently, there was a comment on the blog about the difficulties that Leeds are having with funding for lung operations. It seems that these problems stem from failures of several operations and the costs involved in correcting what went wrong. These issues are being resolved and the Leeds hospitals will resume the operations when negotiations are complete.
Otherwise, there are Centres of Excellence being set up in Bristol, Oxford, Cambridge, Sheffield, Birmingham, Leicester, Mansfield, Liverpool, Manchester and London. These hospitals are setting up Multi Disciplinary Teams which meet (or will meet) on a regular (probably monthly) basis. These teams that are already set up are actively recruiting and accepting patients. These sites are set up to be regional, so they are not just accepting patients from their local areas. For example, a patient from Gloucester should see the team at Bristol. These teams have the scope and ability to offer and perform Endobrochial Valve (EBV) placement or Lung Volume Reduction Surgery (LVRS) as required. These are Tertiary Centres, so referral should be via your respiratory consultant, although in some circumstances your GP may be able to make a request. All of this is through NHS, there is no private option for this in the UK at present. A current list of surgeons and hospitals is at :
This list is likely to be reviewed over the next few months.
In view of the current situation about funding throughout the NHS, now would be a good time for as many people as possible to directly ask the BLF for information about this topic and anything else to do with COPD. As well as being a large charity supporting people with lung problems, and funding some research, the BLF is a lobbying organisation with links into the the Health Ministry and the NHS. As such we need them to show the Government that there is a need for COPD to have a higher profile within respiratory medicine, and heath issues in general. We need to push the BLF into asking why there are still serious delays in patients getting treatment which causes conditions to deteriorate, and ultimately cost much more to fix, or shamefully, death.
Treatments available. At this time NICE have only given approval for Lung Volume Reduction Surgery, and 'Zephyr' Valves from Pulmonx. There is one centre doing a trial using Nitinol Coils, but remember that the coils procedure is not reversible. There has been much on the internet recently about the use of an adhesive foam (Aeriseal). As yet, it is not in use in the UK, and most surgeons have questions about the severe reactions some patients get.
Some videos to look at ------
How Emphysema progresses and how Valves are placed
Coils and how they work