AdventHealth Tampa is using the innovative Zephyr® Endobronchial Valve to help patients who suffer from severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and emphysema breathe easier. The valves, about the size of a pencil eraser, are placed in the airways to block off the diseased parts of the lungs where air gets trapped. This allows the healthier parts of the lungs to expand and take in more air.
The Zephyr® valve minimalizes and, in some cases, eliminates the need for patients to use oxygen tanks – helping with shortness of breath and allowing for a more active and energetic life. According to the Florida Department of Health, Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties rank near the top in the state for COPD emergency room visits.
“For COPD patients, simply breathing becomes an active, anxiety-inducing process and taking a deep breath is nearly impossible,” said Dr. Nathan Do, Pulmonologist at AdventHealth Tampa. “Most patients with the disease find themselves caught in an ongoing cycle of hospitalizations, and declining quality of life but with this valve, we’re providing patients with the ability to regain control of the disease and their lives.”
The one-time, one-hour procedure is done by inserting a small tube into the lungs by mouth or nose and requires no cutting or incisions. It is the first of its kind to help severe COPD and emphysema patients without major surgery, according to Pulmonx. AdventHealth Tampa Pulmonologist Dr. Nathan Do was the first to complete the procedure on Florida’s West Coast, according to Pulmonx, the company that manufactures the valves.
Dr. Nathan Do recently implanted the valves into 67-year old Theresa Stanley of Pasco County who suffers from COPD/emphysema. Both Theresa’s father and brother died from the disease. Theresa has had to consistently use oxygen for more than a decade. Once she underwent the Zephyr valve procedure, she has minimized her use of her oxygen tank.
“Before I thought my days were numbered but this has changed my life,” said AdventHealth patient Theresa Stanley. “I encourage anyone with COPD/emphysema to know there’s still hope and you have a second chance.”
Most patients require three to four valves and may feel improvement in less than a month.