Donald's Story

Brownstown, Indiana

Former truck driver who loves spending time with his wife and their 23 grandchildren.

Procedure Details:

Age at Treatment: 67
Hospital: Lung Institute at Columbus Regional Health
Date of Procedure: June 2020

Life Before Zephyr® Valves:

I was a truck driver for Walmart for 28 years. In December ‘99, I was on a run and felt like I was coming down with the flu so I went home and rested. Well, it wasn’t just the flu because a week later I was in the hospital with only 10% lung function, placed in a drug-induced coma, and hooked up to a ventilator.

I was diagnosed with emphysema complicated by bronchitis. I quit smoking right then and with the use of inhalers, my stamina built back up. After three months, I returned to work and was able to continue for several years until 2017 when I had five exacerbations and my lung health really declined.

In 2017 my mom was in the hospital and I had to go to Iowa to care for her. The stress of the situation coupled with hot/humid weather put me in the hospital for a week when I got home. I had only been using oxygen at night, but after this flare-up I needed it every day. Regulations prohibited me from having an oxygen tank on my truck so I had to take a leave of absence from work, eventually retiring completely.

After 2017, the disease stole my life as I knew it from me. I went from driving a truck across the U.S. to struggling just to walk around the house. We downsized our home because I couldn’t care for our two-acre property anymore. Working on cars was my hobby and I couldn’t do that anymore. I had to sell my ’69 Chevelle. Life became very frustrating.

I wasn’t hesitant when I heard about valves but had a lot of questions. Dr. Sharma was honest and explained that I wasn’t going to get rid of the disease, but this treatment was a chance to breathe better.


Life After Zephyr Valves:

I received five Zephyr Valves and had no complications. I went into the procedure at 8 a.m., was done in under an hour, and was in my room calling my wife at 10:30 a.m. She could tell right away that my voice was stronger, because I was already breathing easier.

It’s been four months and I am shocked at how good I am breathing. I can have a long phone conversation, walk outside to get the mail, change the bedsheets, and do it all without oxygen. Before valves, taking a shower was very scary. I had to turn my oxygen to 4.5 liters and it still wasn’t enough. Now I shower without oxygen.

Pulmonary rehab has been an important part of my valve journey. The rehab helped me be in the best shape for undergoing the treatment and to breathe deeper and build up my exercise endurance after treatment.

Life is easier for me and for my wife. She worries less now. She works over 100 miles away and doesn’t come home until the weekend. She doesn’t have to worry about me being alone during the week anymore.

My wife and I have five kids and 23 grandkids between us and now that I am feeling better we are looking forward to spending as much time with them as we can.

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. A physician uses a bronchoscope to place on average four tiny valves in the airways to block off the damaged areas of the lungs so air no longer gets trapped there. No cutting or incision is required and the procedure is usually complete in under an hour.

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.
GLO-EN-724-v1 – November 2020 Patient Story Donald, Indiana