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‘Revolutionary’ lung valve treatment for severe COPD/emphysema now offered at University Hospitals

It’s a procedure that UH says is done through a 'simple bronchoscopy.'
Credit: 3News

CLEVELAND — University Hospitals revealed Wednesday morning they are now offering a new “revolutionary” treatment for patients who are dealing 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,” UH officials announced Wednesday.

It’s a procedure that UH says is done through a “simple bronchoscopy.” Four tiny valves will be placed into the airways and block off the lungs’ diseased parts where the air gets typically trapped.

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“We are very excited to have this new treatment option because emphysema patients are often in poor physical condition, struggling with each breath despite medication therapy,” said Benjamin Young, MD, Medical Director of Bronchoscopy at UH Cleveland Medical Center. “We’ve provided this solution to more than a dozen patients, and we’re hearing from many that they experience immediate relief after the procedure, and they feel like themselves again.”

Currently, COPD is the third leading cause of death across the United States, and there is no cure for the disease, UH officials said. Those suffering from the lung disease have breathing problems that can cause normal activities like walking or showering to become a struggle.

“Everyone deserves to live a full and happy life, and patients with emphysema and COPD face challenges that keep them from doing that,” said Dr. Young. “Our goal is to expand our program and bring this treatment to as many patients as possible to continue improving lives in Northeast Ohio.”

Wednesday’s announcement comes during National COPD Awareness Month.