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Lung Volume Reduction Surgery

Thoracic surgeons at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital pioneered the development of lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) - an innovative treatment for patients who have emphysema and severe to very severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). LVRS removes 20 to 30 percent of the lung tissue at the tops of the upper lobes most damaged by emphysema. The remaining, less diseased portion of the lungs in the more normal chest configuration then has improved function which results in easier breathing.

Lung volume reduction surgery does not cure emphysema, though it provides an alternative to lung transplantation. LVRS may also be appropriate for patients who are not eligible for lung transplantation.

Candidates for LVRS must meet strict requirements for surgery. A thorough clinical and physiological evaluation will include a chest CT scan, lung function tests, an exercise test, and cardiac (heart) testing.


  • Multidisciplinary evaluation;
  • Medical management of emphysema/COPD and its complications;
  • Education of patients, families, medical personnel and lay persons;
  • Counseling and assistance with financial issues;
  • Referral for lung transplant evaluation when appropriate.
Patients come from around the world to undergo lung volume reduction surgery at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Since the procedure was pioneered here in 1993, more than 450 surgeries have been performed, making this one of the most active LVRS programs in the country—and one of the few programs to earn The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval™ for its lung volume reduction surgery program by demonstrating compliance with The Joint Commission’s national standards for health care quality and safety in disease-specific care.

The Joint Commission's Advanced Certification for Lung Volume Reduction Surgery, developed in response to Medicare requirements, provides standards related to:

  • Staff competency;
  • Patient eligibility;
  • Program management;
  • Surgical procedures;
  • Rehabilitation;
  • Additional issues relevant to safe, high-quality care for this patient population.

To make an appointment with a lung specialist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, call 314-TOP-DOCS (314-867-3627) or toll free 866-867-3627.

2023 Best Hospitals - Pulmonology

#23 in the Nation by U.S. News & World Report

2023 High Performance Badge - COPD

Find a doctor or make an appointment: 866.867.3627
General Information: 314.747.3000
One Barnes-Jewish Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63110
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