Cindi's Story

Port O’Connor, Texas

Mom and Grandma of five, who loves hiking, fishing, and gardening

Procedure Details:

Age at Treatment: 66
Hospital:  Methodist Houston
Date of Procedure: January 2017

Life Before Zephyr® Valves:

I had a very full life before COPD and emphysema. I worked full time, raised two sons, and enjoyed the outdoors. Before I was sick I loved to hike, fish, and garden. My husband and I would go to the Colorado mountains several times a year to hike. It was a good life.

My symptoms started in my 50’s but I was officially diagnosed with COPD (emphysema and chronic bronchitis) at 61. My illness impacted all aspects of my life. I went from living a full and active life to being so limited. Simple things like showering, cleaning my home, or walking across a parking lot became real challenges for me. My cough was very extreme and constant. I became very self-conscious about it. I’d cough so hard I would sound like I was choking. I knew it was uncomfortable for people to be around me. Invitations to social events became very scarce.

I tried to cope with medications like Symbicort™, Spiriva™, Mucinex™, albuterol and prednisone but still suffered with major breathing issues. I depended on oxygen at night. I never slept well and often woke up gasping for air. I had to have the rescue inhaler and nebulizer standing by. Even with all that medication, I was still hospitalized several times.

I was diagnosed as very severe and was given a life expectancy of just 2-5 years unless I had a lung transplant. When a doctor tells you what your expiration date is, well, that is very tough to hear. I got very depressed. But after several years of struggling with this physically and mentally, I decided that I was not ready to accept my expiration date.

I knew lung transplants are very expensive and tough to qualify for, so I started doing some research to see if there were other treatment options. That’s when I found out about the tiny Zephyr® Valves. I talked to a woman in an online patient support group and she told me how the valves helped her breathe easy again. She explained how doctors place a few tiny valves in the diseased part of your lung so the healthier parts of your lung can function better. I started to call local doctors right away because I was hoping this could help me too.

Life After Zephyr® Valves:

Having the Zephyr Valves was the best decision I made for my health. The procedure was fairly simple. It was done through a bronchoscopy so no incision or cutting into me. Much easier than having a lung transplant that’s for sure!

I felt immediate relief after the procedure. I could take a deeper breath in right away. Now it’s been almost two years and I can say that having this procedure was a total game changer for me. It has literally given me my life back. I am breathing so much better and back to living my life. I cook, clean, and do the shopping. I do all those little things you take for granted until you’re sick. I even have a small herb garden and flower bed again.

I would get the Zephyr Valves again in a heartbeat! I still take my daily medications, but I haven’t needed steroids in over a year and I only use the albuterol once in a while. I see my pulmonologist just once a year for follow up.

Now I look forward to social occasions because I am not coughing incessantly anymore. I have even been able to do some travel as well. I went to Chesapeake Bay this summer to visit friends. We did a lot of walking and my breathing was just fine. I am looking forward to traveling more now that I am feeling better. My husband and I would love to go back to the mountains.

My poor husband had been doing everything when I was sick. I know he is happy to have me back cooking and taking care of the house, but I think the best part is that he worries less now. He and the kids see me doing everyday things again and not struggling with every breath.

To think I was given only 2-5 years to live. Well, that was 7 years ago and I feel better now than I have in a long time!

Now I am breathing easier and living my life on my terms again.  I want to share my story because I don’t want anyone else with COPD/emphysema to feel hopeless or depressed about their options. I want others to know that the Zephyr Valves can give you your life back!

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.