New device helps patients breathe easy

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A new medical device, approved by the FDA in 2018, is helping American’s with COPD and Emphyzema, live a better, healthier life. Symptoms of Emphysema include fatigue chronic coughing, and breathlessness.

The Zephyr Bronchial Valve, made by Pulmonx, is a small umbrella-shaped object placed in a patient’s airway with a camera scope.

The procedure requires no cuts, no bleeding, and minimal recovery for most patients. A few nights in the hospital and monitoring is all that’s required. It is common, however, to have multiple valves put in to maximize the patients breathing.

Dr. Gustavo Cumbo-Nacheli, is an interventional pulmonologist at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids and is at the forefront of making sure the Zephyr Valve is an option for as many patients that qualify.

Patients like Nancy Kik, a proud recipient of the valves this March after watching the morning news and seeing Cumbo-Nacheli talking about the valves.

“The first thing I see when I have patients  that come, its essentially, they are discouraged about their breathlessness, “ says Cumbo-Nacheli. But after just a matter of weeks, Kik was back to doing things she hadn’t done for years.

“A couple weeks ago I went boating up in Boyne City,” she said. “I haven’t been up north for three years. I hadn’t been on a boat for three years. And this year I’ve been twice.”

Cumbo-Nacheli says the procedure won’t replace lung transplants, medical rehab, bronchial dilators, or oxygen, but it is a step in the right direction.

“We are closing the gap. This is the best I’ve seen for that gap,” he said. “This lives in the middle. And essentially enhances their life.  We can hopefully get them back in charge breathing better, exercising and hopefully back to health.”

If you are interested in seeing if you are a candidate for the Zephyr Valve, Dr. Cumbo-Nacheli says to first get evaluated by a pulmonologist, and then request an appointment to be seen by the team at Spectrum.

The number to reach them is 616-267-8244.

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