Now we know we have a patient with emphysema, what are the things we can do to help treat
them? Well they might need to be on oxygen. Depending on what their oxygen saturation is
you will collaborate with the healthcare provider and they'll set a level that they want to
maintain a pulse ox. We might consider bronchodilators for this patient. Try to open up the
airways that they do have. If the patient is having inflammatory response, we give
corticosteroids for lots of things and it may also help in emphysema. We want these patients
to stay well hydrated and to get good nutrition. We also will work with energy conservation.
Now this doesn't mean turn the lights off when you're done in the bathroom. Energy
conservation means patients with COPD and emphysema have limited amounts of energy
available. Right? So they don't have the stamina to run around like you do. So we help them
determine what they think is most important, what activities are most important for them and
we help them make out a plan so they can do the most important things with rest periods in
between. So if the family is going on an outing, we want to know how far are these patients
going to have to walk? Are they going to climb stairs? So we want to be very thoughtful and
mindful about the type of energy they'll take for the patient to participate in that activity and
help them plan rest periods all along. Now that applies when the patient goes home. But even
in the hospital, energy conservation is vitally important. You don't want to make the patient
do multiple activities right in a row. You want to cluster things, but still leave plenty of rest
periods for nursing care. Now in rare cases, you can look at lung volume reduction surgery.
Okay, that's super intense but remember why they're barrel-chested, remember that tissue
gets big and they could end up as wide as they are deep. Well, lung volume reduction surgery
is only used and they could take up pretty significant portions where the lung tissue is just
completely wasted. So that's when they would use that. That's not the typical treatment but
it is beneficial for some patients.