JC's Story

Zephyrhills, Florida

“For me, the valves are a blessing from God. I can’t imagine going through life any longer the way I was before them.”

Procedure Details:

Age at Treatment: 77
Hospital: Advent Health Tampa – Florida Medical Clinic
Date of Procedure: August 2020

Life Before Zephyr® Valves:

I was fortunate enough to have a job I loved and looked forward to going to everyday. I spent 36 years working as an engineer for CSX Railroad. I spent my days on the train seeing parts of Florida many never get to see. On my days off, I enjoyed fishing, hunting, and spending time with my family and dogs. But as my breathing became worse, the activities I loved to do started decreasing.

I was diagnosed with severe COPD/emphysema at age 62. Even though I quit smoking 24 years ago, the habit still had a severe impact on my lung health. I was using multiple inhalers multiple times a day. It felt like I was living on my rescue inhalers. It never left my side. In the beginning of my diagnosis, I used oxygen only at night, but that soon grew to be an all-day thing too. I was really scared to do anything, even simple things like walking out to my truck, because honestly I was scared I was going to die.

When you have COPD or emphysema, it feels like you are living in a bubble. You are strapped to your oxygen and the activities you loved so much are taken away. Sometimes my breathing was so bad that I couldn’t even catch my breath enough to take my rescue inhaler.  My breathing got down to 25% and that is when Dr. Juan Cevallo referred me to Dr. Nathan Do’s office and started my testing to get the Zephyr Valves.

Life After Zephyr Valves:

After doing all the necessary testing, I was told I was a candidate for the Zephyr Valves and I received my very own set in August 2020. The procedure was quick and relatively painless. My throat was a little sore from the bronchoscope, but it was so minor, I didn’t even need to take a Tylenol®. I was in the hospital for the required three days, and every morning and night I got a chest x-ray to make sure the valves were in the right places and they were working properly. Like clockwork, at 6:50am, he came into my room and listened to me breathe. The first morning he heard a small buzzing sound which just meant one of the valves hadn’t settled in yet. By the second morning though, I was in the clear. Once Dr. Do gave me the go-ahead, I was walking laps around the hospital floor.

I had follow-up appointments with Dr. Do after two weeks, one month, and six weeks after the procedure. He said everything was working properly. I was so excited to get the green light to get back to what I love to do! I am not able to run a marathon, not that I would want to anyway, but I am back in my boat fishing, and enjoying the outdoors with the dogs.

I only use my oxygen at night rather than every day. I take one puff from my rescue inhaler and two puffs of Symbicort® in the morning. After that, I am ready to take on the day!

For me, the valves are a blessing from God. I can’t imagine going through life any longer the way I was before them. I want everyone to know about the Zephyr Valves because they changed my life for the better, and I know they can help countless more.

My beautiful wife and I can’t wait for what the future holds.

Results from case studies are not necessarily predictive of results in other cases. Results in other cases may vary.

What is the Zephyr Valve procedure?

The Zephyr Valve has been shown to help patients breathe easier, do more, and enjoy life.1

Despite taking the best available medications, many patients with emphysema, a common form of COPD, suffer from hyperinflation of their lungs where air becomes trapped in the lungs, preventing fresh air from entering and thereby causing severe shortness of breath.

The Zephyr Valves reduce lung hyperinflation by allowing trapped air to escape and preventing new air from entering that diseased lobe. This allows the healthier parts of the lung to function better and results in patients being able to breathe more easily and experience less shortness of breath.

The valves are placed via bronchoscopy, with no incision or cutting, so these benefits are achieved without many of the risks of traditional surgical options. The procedure is usually complete in under an hour.

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