The Role of Carbon Dioxide in Stopping Lung Healing After Lung Cancer Surgery
After lung cancer surgery, many patients have an air leak from the cut lung surface. If the leak does not heal, the person will develop abnormal connections in the airways called alveolopleural fistulae. This can lead to illness and death, as well as delaying the start of additional chemotherapy or radiation. We have observed that high carbon dioxide concentration inside the chest cavity impairs lung healing. We will study the relationship between increased carbon dioxide concentration and lung wound healing. The findings could lead to therapies that would reduce carbon dioxide or reverse carbon dioxide-induced changes in the lungs and promote lung repair.
Update: We have found that carbon dioxide impairs the ability of cells lining the air sacs called pneumocytes to move and proliferate. We have also been able to determine the way this occurs. We are continuing to study carbon dioxide and lung wound healing.