Piedmont Atlanta first in Georgia to offer new treatment option for people with emphysema

Piedmont Atlanta Hospital is the first in the state of Georgia to offer a new minimally invasive treatment for emphysema, a severe form of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

The procedure improves patients' quality of life by allowing them to breathe easier, be less short of breath and be more active and energetic. The treatment, using the Zephyr® Valve System, is groundbreaking because it is the first FDA-approved procedure for emphysema that is minimally invasive, meaning no incision or cutting is required.

This new treatment option is a life-changer for people with emphysema and severe COPD. Until now, the only other options for these patients were highly invasive treatments such as surgical lung volume reduction or lung transplantation. This minimally invasive procedure offers new hope for patients who remain symptomatic despite optimal medical care."

Ralitza Martin, M.D., an interventional pulmonologist with Piedmont Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine and the first physician in the state to perform this procedure

COPD and specifically emphysema is a progressive and life-threatening lung disease usually caused by smoking. There is no cure and patients live with severe shortness of breath. Simple daily activities like walking or taking a shower are often very difficult.

This extreme shortness of breath is caused when air becomes trapped in parts of the lung that are damaged by the disease. This trapped air causes the damaged areas of the lungs to get larger, which puts pressure on the healthy parts of the lungs and diaphragm. This procedure places tiny valves in the airways to block off the damaged areas of the lung so air is no longer trapped there, allowing the healthier parts of the lungs to expand so patients can breathe more easily.

"We've been doing this procedure for several months now and I have seen a dramatic improvement in the quality of life of patients who have been treated," said Dr. Martin. "It's incredibly rewarding to see patients who were previously unable to walk down a hallway regain the ability to go outside and spend time with family and friends."

In clinical studies, patients treated with the Zephyr® Valve System have been shown to breathe easier, be more active and energetic, be less short of breath and enjoy a significantly improved quality of life compared to untreated patients.

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