A New Breath On Life
Thanks to the Zephyr Valve Procedure—offered only at CBMC in New Jersey—patients with severe respiratory disease can breathe better and get their life back.
Charles Chadwick was an avid tennis player throughout his life. However, several years ago he had trouble breathing while doing simple daily tasks such as walking upstairs and taking a shower. He sought care from his pulmonologist, who diagnosed him with a severe case of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, a progressive, debilitating disease that restricts lung function and limits quality of life. Charles’ diagnosis gave him a new perspective on life, and five years ago he quit smoking, which had been a habit for 50 years. “I live on the second floor of an apartment building with no elevator,” the Monmouth Junction resident says. “I could not walk up the 16 steps without struggling for oxygen.”
The 67-year-old then found Killol Patel, M.D., medical director of the Lung Nodule Program, director of interventional pulmonology at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center (CBMC) and a member of the RWJBarnabas Health Medical Group. Dr. Patel says Charles was a good candidate for the Zephyr Valve Procedure, a minimally invasive approach to increase lung function and make breathing easier. Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center is the only hospital in New Jersey that performs this Zephyr Valve treatment. “
In certain patients with severe COPD, they have a sensation of an elephant sitting on their chest and inability to take a deep breath,” says Dr. Patel. “The Zephyr Valve is an implantable device that is placed in the airways using a bronchoscope (a thin tube with a camera) to help deflate the diseased part of the lungs and thus help expand the good lung so they can breathe better.”
After undergoing this minimally-invasive surgery in January 2022, which took about 45 minutes and was done under general anesthesia, Charles remained in the hospital for five days for observation, and his results were noticeable just a few days later. Then, by two weeks post-op, “he could climb three flights of stairs at home,” the doctor says.
Candidates for this procedure include patients whose quality of life is limited by reduced lung function due to shortness of breath from severe emphysema or COPD, feel breathless even when taking medication as directed and are non-smoking or willing to quit smoking. “I will do a workup [at any time], but you must quit smoking for three to six months before undergoing the Zephyr Valve procedure,” Dr. Patel notes.
Charles maintains his regular visits with his primary care physician, and will continue to see Dr. Patel and his team every six months for follow-ups.
Since his surgery, Charles has noticed significant improvements in his breathing during his daily routine, including walking upstairs to his apartment, going on two-mile walks and lifting weights, among other activities, and has plans to return to playing doubles tennis.
Essentially, his overall quality of life has improved dramatically. “He told me he’s already referred two friends to me to get the workup,” says Dr. Patel. “He feels so much better and is doing great.”
To find out if the Zephyr Valve is right for you or to make an appointment with a pulmonologist, call 973.302.3137 or learn more at rwjbh.org/cbmcpulmonary.