Lynn's Story

Coolidge, Arizona

Mom who loves the outdoors and traveling

Procedure Details:

Age at Treatment: 54
Doctor:  Dr. Rick Sue, Houston Methodist Hospital
Date of Procedure: September 2018

Life Before Zephyr® Valves:

I had a very full life before COPD and emphysema. I was a real outdoors person. I loved to snow ski, camp, and fish. I was raised in Idaho in a mining family and we spent most of our time outside. We’d go to the creek and make damns and tree swings or ride mini-bikes and snow mobiles.

Growing up in a mining town had its benefits but it also meant I went to school very close to the refineries. The smoke would fill the playground so bad sometimes we couldn’t go out for recess. I was diagnosed with COPD and emphysema in 2008 at age 44. The doctors said that even if I had smoked a pack a day for my entire life, my lungs wouldn’t have been so bad at such a young age if I hadn’t been exposed to the smoke from the refineries as a child.

I was living in Nevada with its harsh winters. I kept getting bronchitis and that lead to my diagnosis. By 2010 my breathing really started to get difficult. Just going out into the cold air in the morning to get to work made my breathing difficult. In 2011 I moved to Arizona to get away from cold. It was a tough decision because my dear husband had to stay in Nevada for work, but my lungs could not tolerate that cold air anymore.

In the Fall of 2015 my primary care doctor finally sent me to a pulmonologist and I found out I was in the end stages of COPD/emphysema. They said I would be lucky to get 5 more years. It felt like my life was falling apart. I have full custody of my two granddaughters. I’m mom to them and at this point the oldest was just in preschool, but my outlook was not good. By 2016 I had to start wearing oxygen just to be able to function. My pulmonologist suggested I go on the transplant list, but I wasn’t ready for all that. My situation went from bad to devastating quickly. I couldn’t take care of my little girls. I felt like I was losing my identity. I couldn’t clean the house or cook. I couldn’t volunteer at the school. Everything that was dear to me was getting taken by this disease. I became very depressed. It is not easy knowing you are dying and worrying about who will raise your kids when you are gone.

At one of my appointments in the summer of 2018 my doctor said he would see me again in two months and I told him I didn’t know if I would make it that long. That’s when he sent me to Dr. Sue to discuss the Zephyr Valve treatment. Within a week Dr. Sue scheduled my procedure.


Life After Zephyr® Valves:

Having the Zephyr Valves was a game changer for me. The results were instant. As soon as I woke up from the procedure I could take a deep breath. In recovery I said, “I can breathe and it’s such a beautiful thing.” I was so happy, I couldn’t stop smiling. I think I had perma-grin for the whole first week after the procedure!

The procedure went very smooth for me. I was sitting up playing games on my phone the day after the procedure and I just wanted to get home and take a nice hot shower.

It’s been over a month now and I am breathing so much better and really back to living my life. I took my girls to the fair and didn’t have to bring my oxygen. I can do all the little things you take for granted until you’re sick like straighten up the house and help the kids with homework.

Getting the Zephyr Valves was so much easier than getting a lung transplant. I’m just so grateful this was FDA approved in time for me. Now that I am feeling better I am busy creating my new bucket list. I am taking my girls to Sea World and my husband bought an 8-room camping tent so we can all go on a camping and fishing trip. I have my life back!

For the first time in over 2 years, I am not worried about who will raise my girls. I am not cured, but this treatment gave me the most precious thing I needed…time!

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.
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