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The Medical Center at Bowling Green to Offer Innovative Lung Valve Treatment for Patients with Severe COPD/Emphysema

Revolutionary lung valve is the first FDA-approved device to help emphysema patients breathe easier without major surgery

The Medical Center at Bowling Green is the first in Southcentral Kentucky to offer a new lung valve treatment for patients with severe COPD/emphysema. Recently approved by the FDA under their “Breakthrough Devices” status, the Zephyr Endobronchial Valve treatment represents a major advancement because it is the first minimally-invasive procedure to help emphysema sufferers breathe easier without major surgery. Done through a simple bronchoscopy, the valve treatment improves patients’ quality of life by allowing them to breathe easier, be less short of breath, and be more active and energetic.

“The opportunity to provide a new treatment option to patients with advanced emphysema is very exciting for us. These patients are often in poor physical condition, as shortness of breath limits their quality of life despite rehabilitation and medication therapy,” says Brian Deweese, Director of Respiratory Care for Med Center Health. “The Zephyr Valve procedure offers a viable treatment option to those who are unable to undergo traditional highly invasive lung surgeries. This minimally invasive procedure has the potential to improve the quality of life for many people in this region and beyond who suffer with severe emphysema.”

Emphysema is a progressive and life-threatening lung disease, and a severe form of COPD (chronic pulmonary obstructive disease). There is no cure and patients live with severe shortness of breath that keeps them from doing simple daily activities like walking or taking a shower without pausing to catch their breath or resting. This extreme shortness of breath is
caused when air becomes trapped in parts of the lung that are damaged by the disease. This trapped air causes the damaged areas of the lungs to get larger which puts pressure on the healthy parts of the lungs and diaphragm.

“COPD is a systemic disease and for some patients, their shortness of breath significantly impacts their quality of life,” said Dr. Karan Singh, associate director for pulmonary critical care for Western Kentucky Heart, Lung and Gastroenterology, “We have patients in this area, who are doing everything right – they have quit smoking, they are taking the right medications and doing the right things, and yet their quality of life is suffering. When you are so winded that you cannot walk from your home to outside, asking you to travel for treatment is just not feasible. That’s why we want to provide all the possible services we can right here in our community where patients have access to their doctors and support systems. We are able to significantly help our COPD patients by offering this procedure here.”

The one-time Zephyr Valve procedure is done during a simple bronchoscopy that requires no cutting or incisions. During the procedure, valves are placed in the airways to block off the diseased parts of the lungs where air gets trapped. Keeping air from getting trapped in the diseased parts of the lung allows the healthier parts of the lung to expand and take in more air. This results in patients being able to breathe easier and have less shortness of breath.

More on the Zephyr Valves
The Zephyr® Valves were fast-tracked through the FDA’s “Breakthrough Device” status because, according to the FDA’s approval summary, they “offer bronchoscopic lung volume reduction without surgery and its associated risks.” The FDA’s approval was based on the results of four randomized controlled clinical trials, including the US approval study, LIBERATE. Data from the study showed that implantation of the Zephyr Valves successfully reduced shortness of breath while improving lung function, exercise capacity, and quality of life.1 These benefits lasted at least one-year post-treatment for patients with severe emphysema.

The Zephyr Valves were approved by the FDA in July 2018. Since 2007, more than 15,000 patients have been treated with the Zephyr Valve worldwide. Zephyr Valve treatment is included in emphysema treatment recommendations issued by leading health organizations worldwide, including the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) and the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

More about COPD and Emphysema
More than 15 million Americans suffer from COPD, and 3.5 million of those patients have emphysema.2 Despite using COPD medications, over one million emphysema patients continue to suffer symptoms of hyperinflation, in which air becomes trapped in the lungs and prevents new air from coming in, causing severe shortness of breath. Breathing becomes inefficient and patients have to work very hard just to breathe – making normal activities, like walking, eating or even bathing, difficult. There are few treatment options for most patients with emphysema and there is no cure. Until now, the only other options for these patients were highly invasive treatments such as lung volume reduction surgery or lung transplantation.

For more information visit www.MyLungsMyLife.com

  1. Criner G, Sue R, Wright S, Dransfield M, Rivas-Perez H, Wiese T et al. A multicenter RCT of Zephyr® Endobronchial Valve Treatment in heterogeneous emphysema (LIBERATE). Am J Resp Crit Care Med. Published online May 22, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1164/rccm.201803-0590OC.
  2. American Lung Association. Trends in COPD (Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema): Morbidity and Mortality. March 2013.