Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new treatment for emphysema patients called the Zephyr Valve procedure. As the senior medical director at Lung Health Institute, I’ve been following the development and certification of this treatment with interest. I want to help you understand what this procedure is, who it’s intended to treat and some pros and cons of having this surgery.
What Is the Zephyr Valve Procedure?
The Zephyr Valve is a device that’s designed to be implanted in the lungs of patients with severe emphysema. Through a minimally invasive procedure, the valves are placed in airways leading to areas of the lungs that are overinflated. They’re designed to allow air to flow out of this section of the lung, but not to flow in. The one-way airflow of the Zephyr Valves is intended to deflate parts of the lung where airflow is an issue. By restricting airflow to these areas, the intention is to give healthier areas of the lung more room to expand and reduce stress on the diaphragm.
Who Is the Zephyr Valve Procedure Designed to Help?
The Zephyr valve procedure isn’t designed to help all emphysema patients. It’s reserved for patients with a forced expiratory volume of less than 15%. Also, you must have hyperinflation of the lungs to be considered for this procedure. Hyperinflation occurs when air is trapped in the lungs and causes them to overinflate, which is common for patients with emphysema.
Zephyr Valve Procedure Pros
The Zephyr Valve procedure is designed to offer several benefits. It’s intended to deflate an area of the lung with airflow issues, which can help improve the function of the rest of the lung. Also, this procedure is designed to help improve your ability to exercise, and it may lead to a significant improvement in your quality of life.
Zephyr Valve Procedure Cons
As with any surgery, this procedure also comes with some risks. One risk associated with Zephyr Valve procedures is that they can cause a temporary worsening of emphysema symptoms after surgery. Some patients may also develop pneumonia or increased mucus production and wheezing after the procedure. Most seriously of all, patients who have Zephyr Valve surgery are at higher risk of developing an air leak in the lung that causes it to collapse within 3 days of having the procedure
Cellular Therapy Can Be an Alternative to Zephyr Valve Procedures
At Lung Health Institute, we offer a minimally invasive treatment for emphysema and other chronic lung diseases.
This treatment option is called cellular therapy. When patients receive cellular therapy, a small sample of the patient’s own blood is taken, and beneficial cells are separated and concentrated from it. These concentrated cells are then returned into the bloodstream and naturally make their way to the lungs. Once there, they may promote the repair of damaged tissue and reduce inflammation. Reducing these symptoms can allow patients to Breathe Easier™ and improve their quality of life.
Take the next step to Breathe Easier with cellular therapy. Contact one of our patient coordinators today for more information or to schedule a free consultation.