Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Our experienced team delivers advanced therapies and treatments for COPD. We also specialize in helping people with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (alpha-1), an inherited condition that causes COPD and other lung diseases.
Find your care
Why choose UCLA Health for COPD care?
At UCLA Heath, we deliver a precise diagnosis and the latest treatments for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Our specialists work together to improve lung function and prevent further lung damage. Highlights of our program include:
Renowned program: As a national COPD referral center, we lead the country in effective therapies and support. Doctors throughout the United States trust our expertise and regularly refer their patients to us.
Recognized expertise: Our program is rated one of the top centers for lung care and COPD care by U.S. News & World Report. Many of our physicians are national and international leaders in ongoing efforts to shape future treatments for COPD and alpha-1. A genetic condition, alpha-1 causes lung disease and liver disease.
Coordinated care: We work with primary care doctors and other specialists to coordinate your visits so you receive seamless care. Our team of experts includes pulmonologists, thoracic surgeons, respiratory therapists and researchers.
Research and clinical trials: With a strong focus on pioneering new treatments, the UCLA Health COPD and alpha-1 research program leads multiple clinical studies and research initiatives. When you come to us, you have access to advanced treatments and promising new therapies.
Our areas of care
At UCLA Health, we deliver tailored treatments using groundbreaking technology. Our services include:
Interventional pulmonology for COPD
Our team includes highly experienced interventional pulmonologists. We offer minimally invasive treatments for COPD, such as bronchoscopic lung volume reduction. Using a small, flexible camera, these procedures involve fewer incisions and less recovery time than surgery. We are experts in these advanced treatments.
Customized treatments for alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (alpha-1)
We specialize in treating alpha-1, an inherited disorder that leads to lung disease and liver disease. We offer alpha-1 infusion supplements for people at a higher risk of developing COPD. These regular infusions can slow or stop the progression of lung damage by replacing proteins that protect the lungs.
Our compassionate experts also help people with advanced disease who may need lung surgery, a lung transplant or a liver transplant. We individualize each treatment plan to meet your needs and goals.
If you need lung surgery or a lung transplant, you’re in expert hands. Our thoracic surgeons are highly skilled at surgery to treat COPD. The UCLA Health Lung Transplant Program is one of the most successful in the country. Learn more about the UCLA Health Lung Transplant Program.
Lung conditions we treat
Our physicians offer specialty care for COPD and alpha-1, delivering targeted treatments with compassion. We specialize in:
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
The group of lung diseases that limit the flow of air through the lungs. COPD causes wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing. The most common types of COPD are emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
COPD can result from smoking and long-term exposure to air pollution. People with alpha-1 are more likely to develop COPD.
Lung damage from alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
Alpha-1 occurs when both parents pass an abnormal gene to a child. People with this condition don’t make enough alpha-1 antitrypsin, a protein that helps balance tissue growth and breakdown. As a result, the lungs, liver and skin can become damaged over time.
Most people with alpha-1 don’t have symptoms when they’re young. Symptoms usually appear around age 30. They include:
- Cough that produces excess mucus (phlegm) or blood
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes) and edema (swelling of the limbs), which are signs of liver disease
- Painful red rash or lesions that result from inflammation under the outer layers of skin (panniculitis)
- Shortness of breath and wheezing
Treatment for COPD
We deliver comprehensive, tailored treatments for all types of COPD. Our lung experts focus on managing COPD symptoms and minimizing further lung damage. We offer:
UCLA Health lung experts come together to deliver a range of therapies and treatments for COPD. We tailor your treatment plan to your needs, which may include inhaled medications, oxygen therapy and pulmonary rehabilitation.
As part of our commitment to holistic care, our supportive team members are by your side with effective therapies and support. We work with you to increase your physical activity and make lifestyle changes that can improve lung function.
Minimally invasive lung volume reduction
In advanced COPD, the lungs can develop “air trapping.” This happens when the lungs don’t empty air like they should. Diseased, poorly working parts of the lung take up more space and prevent the healthy parts from working properly. Medications and oxygen therapy may not relieve symptoms.
Our experienced interventional pulmonologists perform bronchoscopic lung volume reduction to treat COPD. This minimally invasive COPD treatment blocks off or removes diseased lung tissue so healthy lung tissue can work better. We use a thin, flexible tube with a camera to perform this procedure, which involves less recovery time than traditional surgery.
If you need traditional (open) lung volume reduction surgery, our experts are among the top lung surgeons in the nation. Prior to surgery, we bring together a team of radiologists, pulmonologists and thoracic surgeons to determine the best approach for you.
Our nationally renowned lung transplant program is one of the most successful in the United States. Skilled surgeons use the latest techniques to deliver successful transplants and improved outcomes.
We coordinate with experts at the UCLA Health Liver Transplant Program to bring seamless care to people with alpha-1 who may also need a liver transplant. Together, we offer comprehensive treatments and highly specialized care.
Our team includes highly skilled lung experts, interventional pulmonologists, thoracic surgeons, radiologists and respiratory therapists. We work together to help you breathe easier and improve your quality of life.