Non-surgical option offers emphysema patients new quality of life

Less-invasive valve procedure pending FDA approval

Lynne Adkins
May 22, 2018 - 9:00 pm

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Emphysema patients may find surgery to remove damaged lung tissue makes breathing easier, but it can also be invasive and risky.

But a new procedure could offer patients a less-invasive option to improve their quality of life.

Gerard Criner, chair of the Department of Thoracic Medicine and Surgery at Temple University's Lewis Katz School of Medicine, spent a year testing the Zephyr Endobronchial Valve, which can be placed in a minimally invasive procedure and help patients without an operation.

"Patients who have severe emphysema suffer, and surgery isn't the first course of action people want for anything," he said. "So if there's something less invasive that can afford them the same benefit, that's a step up for patients with emphysema."

The study on the valve shows the device is safe and improves a patient's quality of life without surgery.

"At the end of the year we found that those patients that were treated with the valve had less shortness of breath, improved lung function, better quality of life and they could walk further," he added.

The valve is available in other parts of the world, and after this successful U.S. trial it could get FDA approval and be used here.