Paul's Story

White Cloud, Michigan

“My question for someone thinking about getting the valves is, ‘Why wouldn’t you get them? What do you have to lose?’”

Procedure Details:

Age at Treatment: 58
Hospital: Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, MI
Date of Procedure: January 26, 2021

Life Before Zephyr® Valves:

They say if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life, and for me, that’s exactly right. I run the sand pits at construction sites. My favorite part is being outside every day and enjoying fresh air. When I am not working, I love spending time with my 16 grandchildren. It is common for all of us to hunt, fish, and play sports all in one day.

I smoked for 40 years and in my early 50s I was diagnosed with early COPD. Although this is a serious diagnosis, I didn’t think much of it because I was still able to live an active life with my family and work long days. However, my disease progressed quickly. Those long days at work turned much shorter and the days enjoying the fresh air turned into days sitting inside strapped to an oxygen tank, using multiple inhalers and taking steroids.

In July of 2020, as my health declined fast, I feared my wife was going to find me dead and that almost happened. One night I blacked out after my lungs filled with more C02 than oxygen and she found me on the bathroom floor. The next thing I remember was waking up in the ICU at Spectrum Health Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Unfortunately, the doctors didn’t think I was going to make it much longer, so they talked about putting me on the list for a lung transplant.

When I was back home recovering, I started searching for a new way to treat COPD/emphysema and that’s when I found the Zephyr Valve. After reading everything I could, I had a consultation with Dr. Gustavo Cumbo-Nacheli at Spectrum Heath. I quit smoking, completed all of the necessary tests, and attended pulmonary rehab. Finally, I got my procedure date.

Life After Zephyr Valves:

I had my procedure on January 26, 2021. It has been a night and day difference. When I woke up from the procedure, Dr. Cumbo-Nacheli told me he was able to give me valves. I quite literally breathed a sigh of relief. Thankfully, I didn’t have any complications or any real pain.

I stayed at Spectrum Health for observation for the required three nights.

I couldn’t wait to get back home and be with my family. I was also counting down the days until I could get back to my big rigs. The thought of being outside once again and taking a deep breath of fresh Michigan air put a smile on my face. Before I knew it, I was back to work in early March — about six weeks after getting my valves.

I want to tell everyone I can about the Zephyr Valve treatment because of the dramatic change it has made for me. My question for someone thinking about getting valves is, “Why wouldn’t you get them? What do you have to lose?”

Before the valves I was down to about 120 pounds, basically just skin and bones. I felt like all I was doing was wasting fresh air for healthy people.

Now I can breathe easier and take a full breath with a smile on my face.

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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