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Metro Health – University of Michigan Health Offers New Breakthrough Treatment for Emphysema

In a breakthrough for patients suffering from severe COPD or Emphysema, Metro Health – University of Michigan Health has become one of the first Michigan health systems to offer a new minimally invasive procedure that offers hope for better breathing without the risk of major surgery.

“Metro Health – University of Michigan Health is proud to pioneer this groundbreaking treatment for qualifying patients in West Michigan,” said Dr. Peter Hahn, President and CEO, Metro Health – University of Michigan Health. “As a pulmonologist, I have seen firsthand the debilitating effects on patients who have difficulty breathing. This new procedure offers hope of improved lung function and a better quality of life.”

The Zephyr Valve treatment is a 30- to 60-minute procedure, where the doctor uses a bronchoscope, a small tube with a camera, to place tiny valves in airways. This allows healthier parts of the patient’s lungs to expand, lifting pressure off the diaphragm and helping to ease breathing.

Previously, major surgery was the only option for patients when medication did not adequately treat symptoms of severe emphysema, an incurable, life-threatening disease.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calculates 3.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with emphysema, a form of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). In Kent County alone, an estimated 40,557 adults suffer from COPD, according to the American Lung Association.

The Zephyr Valve is designed for patients with severe COPD or emphysema – a condition that makes it progressively difficult to breath as air sacs in the lungs are damaged, trapping air. Diseased parts of the lung grow larger, or hyperinflated, making intake of new air difficult.

In June, The Zephyr Valve became the first minimally invasive device approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating patients with severe emphysema.

In its Summary of Safety and Effectiveness Data report, the FDA wrote: “This represents a breakthrough technology as the device offers bronchoscopic lung volume reduction without surgery and its associated risks. This device offers significant clinically meaningful advantage over the current standard of care and therefore its availability is also in the best interest of patients.”

Currently Metro Health – University of Michigan Health, has several patients who are candidates for this procedure. Dr. Mounir Ghali, a Fellowship Trained and Board Certified Interventional Pulmonologist, is scheduled to perform the first Zephyr Value procedure in mid-December.

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joseph.weller@metrogr.org