The CMS will begin covering lung volume reduction surgery for certain patients with severe emphysema after positive results in a federally sponsored clinical trial. The procedure, which is designed to improve lung function by removing diseased portions of the lung, has not been covered by Medicare because of insufficient scientific proof of its benefits. But a five-year clinical trial indicated that patients with advanced emphysema who receive medical therapy and undergo the surgery are better off after two years than patients treated with medical therapy alone. Emphysema is a progressive disease that destroys air sacs in the lungs and affects nearly 2 million Americans, mostly over 65. -- by Cinda Becker
CMS to cover some lung reduction surgeries
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