Jim's Story

Albany, NY

Dad, Grandpa, Great-Grandpa, Retiree, and Self-Proclaimed Golf Addict

Procedure Details:

Age at Treatment: 76
Doctor: Dr. Gerard Criner
Hospital: Temple Health
Date of Procedure: April 2019

Life Before Zephyr® Valves:

I was first diagnosed with emphysema 10 years ago. The crazy thing is I went through high school, college, and worked for a decade before I even held a cigarette.

Before emphysema I had a full life. We raised a family, traveled, golfed, and I had a full career. In the early stages it was manageable, but as time went on, even with medication therapy, the disease began to impact my quality of life.

I had always been an avid golfer, often hitting the links several days a week. But about three years ago, the emphysema won and I had to stop. In the last few years even small activities like taking the trash out or carrying the groceries from the car were difficult.

Our annual family vacation to Cape Cod became challenging because some days I couldn’t make the 200-yard walk from the house to the water. I would stay back while the family went to the beach. The disease cut short many of our retirement dreams. My wife and I had planned to visit our granddaughter in Italy. We even laid out the itinerary, but my health was too fragile to take the trip.

We’d get invited to parties but standing and talking for long periods would cause me to lose my breath. It was embarrassing. This disease takes a toll on you both physically and mentally. I started playing the blame game. I thought to myself ‘no one did this to me but me.’ I just felt defeated.

There are not enough words to express how grateful I am for all the love and support my wife gave me while I was struggling with COPD. I was unable to do so many tasks around the house, that then became her job. Never did my wife complain, not even once. This disease is terrible for the patient, but makes life very hard for the caregivers too.

My golfing partner is a physician and he first told me about the Zephyr Valves while it was in clinical trial. We followed the progress of the trial and as soon as the valves were FDA approved, I knew I wanted to try them. I was denied twice by insurance, but my pulmonologist office appealed all the way to a third-party reviewer, and I was finally approved.


Life After Zephyr Valves:

The procedure went very smoothly. I had no complications and felt the improvement right away. I remember feeling a difference when they transferred me from the procedure table to my recovery bed.

In just a few months’ time, the difference was dramatic. At my 6-month visit after the valves, I had a complete set of lung function tests done. When you compare those results to my pre-valve testing, it is hard to believe it’s the same person!

Since having the valves I am leading a much more active retirement. Almost every day my wife and I walk a 2.3 mile loop at our local mall. I laugh when I tell people I am a “mall walker” now but it is amazing compared to life before receiving the valves when just a short walk to the mailbox was hard.

I truly feel like this procedure gave me a second lease on life. This summer I was able to get back on the golf course. My wife and I are traveling again. And, we are even starting to think about taking some overseas trips.

I am back to doing the things I enjoy in life, including spending time with family. We have a son and daughter and five grandchildren. We also have one great-grandson who is two years old and we enjoy him so much. The whole family went to Cape Cod again this summer and I had no problem walking to the beach each day. Emphysema is not holding me back anymore.

I was excited to share my story to give others hope and make sure they know that there is another option now that can help you get 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 the 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.
United States
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.
Caution: Federal law restricts this device to sale by or on the order of a physician.
International
Brief Statement: The Zephyr® Endobronchial Valve is an implantable bronchial valve intended to control airflow in order to improve lung functions in patients with hyperinflation associated with severe emphysema and/or to reduce air leaks. The Zephyr Valve is contraindicated for: Patients for whom bronchoscopic procedures are contraindicated; 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. Use is restricted to a trained physician. Prior to use, please reference the Zephyr Endobronchial System Instructions for more information on indications, contraindications, warnings, all precautions, and adverse events.
P0893EN_A October 2019-Patient-Story-Jim-Albany-NY