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Lung Surgery Helps, but Doesn't Cure Emphysema

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"[Approximately] three-quarters of all patients had improved ... scores," the authors write. Yusen tells WebMD that typically in that period of time, patients with end-stage emphysema would be expected to report a deterioration of their condition.

Of these patients, 94% survived the surgery, and 71% were still alive five years later. "Obviously, this is serious surgery, but the outcomes are good for major chest surgery on patients with serious disease," Yusen tells WebMD. "The five-year survival rates are better than we would expect for people with severe emphysema who are getting medical therapy."

"I'm encouraged by these results," Mitchell Horowitz, MD, tells WebMD in an interview seeking objective comment on the findings. "I'm confident that further studies will substantiate Dr. Yusen's findings on this procedure's value." He is a pulmonary and critical care physician in Athens, Penn.

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