Centers of Excellence

The Lung Center

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Emphysema Program

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease often caused by cigarette smoking that makes breathing difficult. According to the American Lung Association, more than 12 million Americans have COPD, a progressive disease that gets worse over time if not treated. COPD includes both damage to the bronchial tubes (airway disease) and emphysema. Learn more about COPD and emphysema.

The COPD and Emphysema Program at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Lung Center provides comprehensive diagnostic testing and treatment for men and women with COPD. Coordinated by board-certified physicians in pulmonary and critical care medicine, including interventional pulmonologists and thoracic surgeons who specialize in minimally invasive lung surgery such as lung volume reduction surgery, our multidisciplinary team also comprises specialists from thoracic imaging, pulmonary rehabilitation, and respiratory therapy. All work with you to find the best combination of treatments to control your COPD and maintain the highest level of function possible.

Our services for people living with COPD, and the resulting chronic bronchitis and emphysema, include:

  • Medications, nutrition support, and antibiotic treatment
  • An extensive pulmonary rehab program to boost physical conditioning and endurance, strengthen lung muscles, and improve the overall quality of life
  • Access to clinical trials and cutting-edge treatments
  • Surgical innovation, including lung volume reduction surgery and other video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) using minimally invasive techniques that involve less pain and faster healing than open surgery
  • Innovative endoscopic therapy for tracheomalacia and other complications of COPD and emphysema
  • If a transplant is the best option for your COPD, our Lung Transplant Program consistently meets or exceeds national survival benchmarks, even though we treat many complex patients whose other programs turn away. We offer mechanical ventilation/ECMO to serve as a bridge for patients awaiting transplant

What is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD? What causes it? What are its symptoms? Craig Hersch, M.D, M.PH., Pulmonologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, explains how COPD is treated and how research is helping personalize treatment options.

Our Team


The Lung Center is located at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at the 15 Francis Street entrance. Pulmonary and critical care medicine, thoracic surgery and thoracic imaging are adjacent to one another, making accessibility and appointment scheduling seamless.

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For over a century, a leader in patient care, medical education and research, with expertise in virtually every specialty of medicine and surgery.

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