Hutchinson Regional Medical Center (HRMC) is one of only two hospitals in Kansas to perform a new, FDA-approved lung valve treatment for patients afflicted with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)/emphysema. The first local procedure of this type was successfully performed this month by Dr. Mo Al-Halawani with Hutchinson Pulmonology Associates, located within the hospital.
The new treatment, named Zephyr Endobronchial Valve treatment, is a minimally invasive procedure that allows emphysema sufferers to breathe easier without major surgery. An estimated 15 million Americans suffer from COPD, 3.5 million of which also have emphysema.
Here is how Zephyr Endobronchial Valve treatment works: The one-time procedure is accomplished during a simple bronchoscopy that requires no cutting or incisions. During the procedure, several tiny valves are placed in the airways to block off the diseased parts of the lungs where air gets trapped. The valves prevent air from getting trapped in the diseased parts of the lung, allowing the healthier parts of the lungs to expand and take in more air. This results in patients breathing easier and experiencing less shortness of breath.
Ken Johnson, president of Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System (HRHS), said the hospital is excited to be one of the first hospitals in Kansas to offer this new treatment, because emphysema patients often struggle with each breath despite medication therapy.
“Before the Zephyr Valve, the only options for relief were highly invasive treatments including lung surgeries,” Johnson said. “This minimally invasive procedure has the potential to improve the quality of life for thousands of emphysema sufferers in Kansas and throughout the nation. We commend Dr. Al-Halawani and Hutchinson Pulmonology Associates for their efforts to bring this new treatment to our area.
“One of our top goals at Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System is to stay abreast of new FDA-approved procedures and launch those services soon after their authorization,” Johnson continued. “The Zephyr Endobronchial Valve treatment is a fine example of one of those services.”
Hutchinson Regional Medical Center is an entity of Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System. Other entities are Horizons Mental Health Center, Hospice & HomeCare of Reno County, Health-E-Quip, and the Hutchinson Regional Medical Foundation.