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Published on 19 September 2012

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Revolutionary new procedure to treat emphysema

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There is no denying the NHS is under constant scrutiny with lack of staff and bed shortages common headlines throughout the UK. Pulmonx is helping ease the pressure of overcrowding with its revolutionary new treatment of emphysema, which sees patients undergo the non-invasive procedure and, in the majority of cases, leave hospital within 24 hours.
Pulmonx is dedicated to the development of minimally-invasive medical devices and technologies for the diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary disorders. It has given patients in many different parts of the world the opportunity to regain quality of life and its revolutionary endobronchial lung volume reduction (ELVR) treatment is now benefitting sufferers of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the UK. The endoscopic procedure is very straightforward and usually takes less than an hour to complete. Because it is non-invasive patients do not require a long recovery period, though an overnight stay in hospital may sometimes be required, and the positive effects are almost immediate.
Emphysema, a form of COPD, leaves many sufferers breathless and prevents them from living life to the full, often unable to even climb stairs. For a variety of reasons significant numbers of patients are physically unable to undergo surgery and as a result are told that the only course of action is medical management of their condition. Pulmonx is now giving hope to those who thought their conditions were untreatable by offering an ELVR procedure that recent data indicates, can achieve similar results to surgery, but carries minimal risk. There are an estimated 3 million COPD sufferers in UK, accounting for about 25,000 deaths per year in England & Wales (one every 20 minutes), with an approximate cost to UK healthcare of £810-£930 million per year.
A key factor for the success of this revolutionary treatment is patient selection. European multi-centre studies have identified the correct patient selection criteria and today assessing patients for the Pulmonx ELVR procedure is simplified with the Chartis® Pulmonary Assessment System. The treatment of suitable patients typically involves implanting between two and four of Pulmonx’s Zephyr® one-way Endobronchial Valves (EBV), which are approximately 10mm long and 5mm wide, in the bronchi of the targeted, damaged, part of the lungs.
Once the Zephyr Endobronchial Valves are in place they close when the patient breathes in to stop air from being directed to the damaged part of the lung, thus preventing further hyperinflation. However, when the patient breathes out, trapped air is able to flow through the valve and out of the affected part of the lung. Studies show that this can improve the patient’s lung function and ability to breathe, enabling them to regain a better quality of life whereby they can enjoy leisure activities with friends and family and are able to carry out daily routines.
Pulmonx carried out its first procedure in 2001 and has since treated over 4000 COPD patients in different parts of the world. It has now published substantial results, including five year follow up data for a number of these patients with Zephyr Endobronchial Valves. With such positive, conclusive results to support the effectiveness of its procedure, Pulmonx is confident that it is leading the way in the successful treatment of emphysema. The Pulmonx Chartis® Pulmonary Assessment System and Zephyr® EBV treatment is now available at various hospitals across the UK.


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