European Respiratory Journal vol:19 issue:3 pages:422-8
Lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) has been shown to improve respiratory mechanics in selected patients with severe emphysema. This is thought to be due to an improvement in lung elastic recoil. This study was aimed at gaining further understanding about the effects of LVRS on respiratory mechanics and airway function. Control hamsters instilled with saline (Ctrl; n=8) were compared with emphysematous animals that underwent either a sham operation (Sham; n=7) or an LVRS (LVRS; n=7). As expected, there was a significant increase in the static lung volumes in the Sham as compared to the Ctrl group and a significant decrease of these volumes in LVRS as compared to the Sham group. Surprisingly, emphysema was associated with a significant increase and LVRS with a significant decrease in vital capacity. Despite a tendency toward an increase in lung compliance as compared to Sham, indices of maximal expiratory flows tended to decrease with LVRS. As opposed to humans, there was no change in the distribution of airway diameters in Sham compared to Ctrl. These findings appear to be largely explained by the high compliance of the hamster chest wall. This allows for better matching between the emphysematous lung and the chest-wall sizes than in humans.