John's Story

Chicago, Illinois

Air Force Veteran, husband and father who enjoys long walks with his wife of 31 years.

Procedure Details:

Age at Treatment: 78
Doctor: Dr. Kyle Hogarth
Hospital: University of Chicago Medical Center
Date of Procedure: April 2019
Insurance: Blue Cross Blue Shield

Life Before Zephyr® Valves:

I was a healthy kid. I played football, basketball, baseball, swimming, track, and more. In 1959, I went into the Airforce. I didn’t smoke when I went in, but then once you’re in, it’s “take 10 and light ‘em up.” If you didn’t smoke, you got put on some duty. So needless to say most of us started to light up. Fifty-five years later I quit smoking, but the COPD/emphysema had already taken over in my lungs.

“He was in great shape except for this issue. We used to walk three miles a couple times a week, but then just walking upstairs in the house was getting hard for him. We couldn’t ride bikes anymore. It was really having an impact on our quality of life and I was worried about our future.” – Amy, John’s wife of 31 years.

About eight years ago, I caught a cold and it just escalated quickly. It was a steady decline after that. I went from being this active healthy guy, to struggling to breath with simple tasks. I couldn’t ride my bike anymore. Even doing yard work had become difficult. I would try to weed whack and edge the lawn, but I would have to use the rescue inhaler and stop often to rest. When you have to stop and lean over to catch your breath, you start to think “this may be my last breath.” It scared my wife and me.

I was not on oxygen yet but I was getting very discouraged at the decline I was seeing. On a trip last year I ended up in the ER having breathing treatments. My general practitioner, Dr. Cressa Perish, referred me to Dr. Steve White at University of Chicago Medical Center. He told me “it’s only going to get worse.” I told him I was ready to try something, even if it was a newer option.

In 2019, Dr. White introduced me to his colleague Dr. Kyle Hogarth who had studied the newly FDA-approved Zephyr Valves. Once Dr. Hogarth explained how the valves worked I was 100% ready to try them. He had to do some tests to see if I was a candidate, but I was hopeful that this would give me some of my life back.


Life After Zephyr Valves:

I was the 16th patient treated at University of Chicago Medical Center with the Zephyr Valves. The procedure went smoothly. I had a bit of pain and discomfort as expected, but I stayed for three days and was very well cared for.

After just a month, I was taking deeper breaths and no longer struggling with the severe shortness of breath that had become my normal. In just a few months I’ve seen a 20-25% improvement in lung function. I barely need to use my inhaler anymore.

The valves are not a cure but they have blocked off the diseased part of my lung so the healthier sections can work better, and I tell you, I feel the difference!

My wife worries less now. We are back to taking daily bike rides, long walks, and have even done some significant travel already. In the Spring we drove 14 hours straight home from Connecticut to Chicago. That would have been impossible before the valves. I just wouldn’t have had the stamina.

I haven’t felt this good since my 50s. It’s like getting a new lease on life. I am sharing my story so others who are struggling can know about this option and can have hope too.

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.
P0841EN_A – August 2019-Patient Story-John Wood-Chicago, IL