New Technology Brings Relief to Patients Living With Severe Emphysema

Gastonia, NC – Imagine trying to breathe with lungs that are already filled with air,
completing daily tasks and routine activities while struggling to catch
your breath. That is what it feels like to live with severe emphysema,
a progressive lung disease resulting from damage to the tiny air sacs
in the lungs. For thousands of patients in the region living with this
disease, it can be debilitating, making it difficult to perform daily
and often routine activities. But two physicians, Dr. Jay Hendler and
Dr. Narayan Neupane, at CaroMont Pulmonary Medicine in Gastonia, have
a new, state-of-the-art procedure to help patients breathe easier without
surgical intervention.

“Patients with emphysema struggle to breathe because their lungs
are so damaged and expanded,” explains Dr. Hendler. “Simple
movement and exercise are difficult because the body cannot get enough
air in and out, and often those suffering from emphysema have a hard time
walking or even talking. There has always been medical treatment available,
such as inhalers and oxygen therapy, but those only work up to a certain
point in the progression of the disease. For really severe cases, treatment
options have been limited to either lung volume reduction or lung transplant,
both of which are major surgeries. With the new Zephyr valve procedure,
a very small implant can make a huge difference for a person’s quality
of life.”

The Zephyr valve is a small device, roughly the size of a corn kernel,
implanted in the bronchial tubes in the lungs. The small valve allows
air to only flow one way, shrinking the most diseased and inflated portions
of the lung and supporting optimal function in parts of the lung that
are healthy. This leads to overall better lung function, an increased
ability to withstand daily activities and less shortness of breath.

Shown here, the Zephyr Valve is roughly the size of a pencil eraser and
is implanted into the bronchial tubes to help shrink inflated portions
of the lungs.

“A bronchoscopy, or endoscopic technique, is used to implant the
Zephyr valves into the bronchial tubes,” said Dr. Neupane. “Post
procedure, patients usually spend three nights in the hospital. Recovery
time for a lung transplant or surgical lung volume reduction surgery is
much longer than that. This advanced treatment allows us to get patients
back to their lives faster.”

Depending on the degree of emphysema, the Zephyr valve implant is an option
for those patients for whom traditional medical therapies are no longer
controlling symptoms. Patients who believe they may be a candidate should
speak with their primary care provider or pulmonologist to discuss treatment options.

“As doctors, it is our goal to help preserve or improve a patient’s
quality of life,” said Dr. Neupane. “Yes, the technology is
amazing, but seeing a patient who couldn’t previously walk to the
mailbox regain lung function and mobility without major surgery is incredible.”

Dr. Neupane explains the Zephyr Valve treatment to his patient.

Dr. Jay Hendler and Dr. Narayan Neupane see patients at CaroMont Pulmonary
Medicine, located at 934 Cox Road in Gastonia. To schedule an appointment,
please call
(980) 834-5864.

Marcy Willis

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