Carl's Story

DuBois, Pennsylvania

Retiree, former fire chief, father of five, and proud grandpa!

Procedure Details:

Age at Treatment: 71
Doctor:  Dr. Sandeep Bansal, Medical Director, Lung Center and Intensive Care Services, Penn Highlands Dubois
Date of Procedure: February 2019

Life Before Zephyr® Valves:

Before my COPD diagnosis, I lived a very full life. We raised five kids. I was a mechanic for a glass company, a community fire chief, and I coached my daughter’s softball teams for many years. We were avid campers, too, and I was camping when I first noticed the symptoms of COPD. I started to get short of breath while setting up the camper. About five years ago, I landed in urgent care with breathing difficulties, and they suggested I should consult with Dr. Bansal at The Lung Center of Penn Highlands Healthcare.

I had quit smoking about seven years earlier, so the diagnosis was a surprise. We tried every medication you could think of to manage it, but my symptoms just kept getting worse. Just trying to sweep the floors would knock me out for the rest of the day. It got to the point where I had to do albuterol nebulizers three to four times a day, and I was using the oxygen just to get from the house to the car.

My whole life changed. It became so limited by this disease. I couldn’t go camping anymore because of the campfires. I couldn’t go to a ballgame because of the humidity. That was hard because I loved watching our Penn State team and my grandson play ball. It broke my heart to miss his games.

Two years ago, I was hospitalized with double pneumonia and went septic. I was in the ICU for five days. A month later, I was back in again with pneumonia. It was a very scary time.

My daughter and my son-in-law have been together for 10 years, and last September they decided to get married in March 2019. At my next appointment with Dr. Bansal, I told him that my daughter is getting married, and I have to be able to walk her down the aisle and dance with her without oxygen. He knew I was determined, and he suggested that we try the newly FDA-approved Zephyr Valves.


Life After Zephyr Valves:

I was the first patient treated at Penn Highlands Healthcare with the FDA-approved valves. It’s only been a few months, but I can say for sure that getting the Zephyr Valves was a very good decision for me. The procedure went as planned and within hours I felt fantastic. I stayed for a few days for observation. I felt good, and I was treated like a king by my wonderful nurses.

Just four weeks after getting the Zephyr Valves, I walked my daughter down the aisle oxygen free! It was one of the best moments of my life. I was even able to have a dance with her without the oxygen. I felt like my prayers had been answered.

The week before the wedding, I caught a pretty bad cold. I took one simple medication and that cold cleared right up. Before the valves, I would have been down for week with a cold. I also no longer have panic breathing, where you can’t catch your breath and end up panting.

I feel like I have a new lease on life. We babysit our four-year-old granddaughter a couple of times a week and I can keep up with her now! My wife pushes me, too. She gets me up and moving. I do all the dishes and run the mop through the house. I’m supposed to dust, too.

I feel like I’ve been set free. I feel like I can keep up with the grandkids again!

What is the Zephyr Valve procedure?

The Zephyr Valve is the first FDA-approved, minimally-invasive device available in the U.S. for treating patients with severe emphysema. During a short 30-60 minute procedure, a physician uses a bronchoscope to place on average 4 tiny valves in the airways to block off the damage areas of the lungs so air no longer gets trapped there. No cutting or incision is required.

The valve placement allows the healthier parts of the lungs to expand and relieves the pressure on the diaphragm, which decreases shortness of breath and makes breathing easier. Patients report being able to take full breaths immediately after the procedure and within a few days are back to doing everyday tasks with ease.

Learn More
Results from case studies are not necessarily predictive of results in other cases. Results in other cases may vary.
Complications of the Zephyr Endobronchial Valve treatment can include but are not limited to pneumothorax, worsening of COPD symptoms, hemoptysis, pneumonia, dyspnea and, in rare cases, death.
Brief Statement: Pulmonx Zephyr® Endobronchial Valves are implantable bronchial valves indicated for the bronchoscopic treatment of adult patients with hyperinflation associated with severe emphysema in regions of the lung that have little to no collateral ventilation. The Zephyr Valve is contraindicated for: Patients for whom bronchoscopic procedures are contraindicated; Patients with evidence of active pulmonary infection; Patients with known allergies to Nitinol (nickel-titanium) or its constituent metals (nickel or titanium); Patients with known allergies to silicone; Patients who have not quit smoking; Patients with large bullae encompassing greater than 30% of either lung. Use is restricted to a trained physician. Prior to use, please reference the Zephyr Endobronchial Valve System Instructions for more information on indications, contraindications, warnings, all precautions, and adverse events.
P0786EN_A June 2019