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WVU Medicine Thomas Hospitals first in area to offer a breakthrough treatment option for patients with severe COPD and emphysema

Zephyr Valve is the first FDA-approved device to help patients breathe easier without major surgery

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SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va.WVU Medicine Thomas Hospitals is the first site in the Kanawha Valley to offer new lung valve treatment for patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema. Zephyr® Valves received breakthrough device designation and were approved by the FDA in 2018. The Zephyr Valve treatment helps patients breathe easier and do more without many of the risks associated with major surgery. The procedure is usually complete in under an hour and allows patients to enjoy a better quality of life.

Emphysema is a progressive and life-threatening lung disease, and a severe form of COPD. There is no cure and patients live with severe shortness of breath that keeps them from doing simple daily activities like walking or taking a shower. This extreme shortness of breath is caused when air becomes trapped in parts of the lung that are damaged by the disease. This trapped air causes the damaged areas of the lungs to get larger which puts pressure on the diaphragm and makes breathing difficult. The procedure allows a physician to place one or more small valves in a patient’s airway, helping release trapped pockets of air and allow for easier breathing.

“We are committed to advancing and expanding treatment options at Thomas Hospitals so that patients can receive the high-quality care they deserve close to home,” Greg Rosencrance, M.D., president and CEO of Thomas Hospitals said. “COPD is treatable, and now a better quality of life is within reach for many patients with the availability of this procedure.”

This minimally invasive treatment is a better alternative than traditional lung volume reduction surgery as it doesn’t require any incisions on the patient.

“We are thrilled to bring this technology and treatment to West Virginia to give our patients better treatment options and improve their quality of life,” said Dr. Phillip Cox, a pulmonologist who performed the first Zephyr cases at WVU Medicine Thomas Hospitals. “Many of our patients suffering with severe emphysema or COPD become very limited in the activities they can do because every breath they take is a struggle.”

Larry Ray, a patient who was
one of the first to receive
the Zephyr Valve procedure
during a follow-up visit at
Thomas Memorial Hospital.

Larry Ray was one of the first Thomas Hospitals’ patients to have the Zephyr Valve procedure, performed by Dr. Cox. Ray suffered from COPD for years and recalls having to sit down to rest and catch his breath frequently.

“Following the procedure, I immediately felt better, and my wife commented that she hadn’t seen that much color in my face in years,” Ray recalled. “Just a few weeks after the procedure, I was pressure washing my deck, fixing my boat, and going fishing. I couldn’t believe how much my life improved because I was able to breathe easier. I would recommend this procedure to anyone suffering with COPD.”

For more information, visit https://wvumedicine.org/thomas-hospitals/services/pulmonology/?sub=zephyr-valve or call (304) 400-4545.

More on the Zephyr Valves:
The Zephyr® Valve was fast-tracked through the FDA’s “Breakthrough Device” designation. As part of the supporting evidence for the FDA premarket approval, four randomized controlled clinical trials, including the US approval study, LIBERATE was conducted. Data from the study showed that implantation of the Zephyr Valves successfully reduced shortness of breath while improving lung function, exercise capacity, and quality of life. These benefits lasted at least one-year post-treatment for patients with severe emphysema.

Since 2007, more than 25,000 patients have been treated with The Zephyr Valve worldwide. The Zephyr Valve treatment is included in severe COPD and emphysema treatment recommendations issued by leading health organizations worldwide, including the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellent (NICE) and the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) which gives endobronchial valves a level ‘A’ evidence rating, the highest rating possible.

For media inquiries: Kristin M. Anderson, VP Marketing & Communications, 304-766-3877 or [email protected]

Featured image cutline: Dr. Phillip Cox performs the first Zephyr Valve procedure at WVU Medicine Thomas Hospitals.

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