Relief for emphysema sufferers

A LAUNCESTON specialist hopes that the Launceston General Hospital will approve a new procedure to help patients suffering from emphysema, in what would be a first for Tasmania.

Austrian respiratory medicine expert Professor Arschang Valipour, of the Otto Wagner Hospital in Vienna, visited the LGH yesterday to show doctors the new technique.

Professor Valipour is an international leader in his field and is touring Australian hospitals as a principal investigator of the method.

The new procedure is endobronchial valve insertion to treat emphysema, a form of chronic lung disease. 

Emphysema sufferers have difficulty breathing and smoking is the major cause of this condition.

Launceston respiratory and sleep physician Dr Collin Chia said it was a coup for the hospital to host Professor Valipour.

Dr Chia said if the hospital was to offer the new procedure, it would become only the second regional centre in Australia to have it and it would be a first for the state.

``It's a valuable and effective procedure for people with severe emphysema,'' he said.

``There's a sound physiological basis as to why it works.''

Professor Valipour said the new procedure would help emphysema patients to have a better quality of life.

``Those people are really suffering,'' he said.

``They otherwise would have no other treatment options.''

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