Monday, September 9

CHH first in WV to use the Zephyr Valve System® to treat breathing problems due to emphysema

Cabell Huntington Hospital is the first hospital in the state of West Virginia to offer treatment for emphysema with the Zephyr Valve System®, a minimally invasive therapy for better lung function and exercise tolerance without the need for surgery.

Emphysema is a severe form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It causes abnormal, permanent enlargement of the air spaces at the ends of the bronchioles, accompanied by the destruction of their walls. Most emphysema is caused by smoking. The initial symptom of emphysema is shortness of breath (dyspnea). A cough might also be present, as chronic bronchitis often precedes emphysema. As the disease progresses, even a short walk can result in difficulty in breathing.

The Zephyr endobronchial valve is a minimally invasive endoscopic lung procedure that places tiny valves in the airways of the lungs to allow the healthier parts of the lungs to expand, thereby lifting pressure off the diaphragm and helping emphysema patients breathe more easily.

“This is truly a breakthrough to help patients improve their quality of life and breathe easier,” said Yousef Shweihat, MD, interventional pulmonologist at Cabell Huntington Hospital’s Center for Lung Health and associate professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

The effects of the Zephyr endobronchial valve take place immediately after surgery by allowing patients to take deeper breaths than they could before.

“Over time, patients can begin to increase their exercise tolerance,” Shweihat explained. “This will help the patient increase their breathing capacity by increasing exercise in their daily lives, thus enhancing the quality of life.”

For more information about the Zephyr endobronchial valve procedure, please contact the CHH Center for Lung Health at 304.399.2881.