More than 3.5 million Americans affected with disease, treatment options limited
Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Zephyr Endobronchial Valve (Zephyr Valve), intended to treat breathing difficulty associated with severe emphysema.
“Treatment options are limited for people with emphysema who have severe symptoms that have not improved from taking medicines. These have included lung surgery, such as lung volume reduction or lung transplants, which may not be suitable or appropriate for all patients,” said Tina Kiang, PhD, acting director, Division of Anesthesiology, General Hospital, Respiratory, Infection Control and Dental Devices, in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “This novel device is a less invasive treatment that expands the options available to patients.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 3.5 million American adults have been diagnosed with emphysema. Emphysema is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) due to damage to the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. Lung damage from emphysema is irreversible. The damaged alveoli can cause used air to become trapped in the lungs during exhalation. This can cause the diseased parts of the lung to get larger and put pressure on the healthy part of the lung, which makes it difficult to breathe. As a result, the body may not get the oxygen it needs.
The Zephyr Valve device is contraindicated for patients with active lung infections; those who are allergic to nitinol, nickel, titanium or silicone; active smokers and those who are not able to tolerate the bronchoscopic procedure. Patients who have had major lung procedures, heart disease, large bubbles of air trapped in the lung or who have not responded to other treatments should talk with their providers to determine if the Zephyr Valve device is appropriate for them.