Educating About Endobronchial Valves Is Aim of Collaboration

Pulmonx, the American Lung Association teaming up to instruct patients, providers

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by Mary Chapman |

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Two people face each other as a lightbulb shines above both their heads, signifying a shared good idea.

Pulmonx and the American Lung Association have partnered to educate patients and healthcare providers about treatment options, including endobronchial valves that can help people breathe easier who have severe emphysema, a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Led by the American Lung Association, the Treating Severe COPD Campaign targets patients, caregivers, and clinicians. Endobronchial valves can help patients breathe better and enjoy an improved quality of life without the risks associated with major surgery.

Pulmonx markets the Zephyr Endobronchial Valve, which is placed using a bronchoscope, a thin flexible tube inserted through the mouth or nose into the air passages and windpipe that lead to the lungs. After a valve reaches its target position, it seals off the small sacs where gas exchanges occur in the lungs and where air becomes trapped.

The air then gets through the valve and reduces pressure on the diaphragm, a respiratory muscle, allowing the lungs’ healthier parts to take in more air and function better.

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Japan recently approved the Zephyr Valve for severe emphysema, joining the U.S. and other countries.

“While there is no cure, COPD is a treatable disease. We aim to ensure that Americans living with severe COPD are aware of all their potential treatment options, including endobronchial valve therapy,” Albert Rizzo, American Lung Association’s chief medical officer, said in a press release. “Those living with COPD and their loved ones are encouraged to speak with their healthcare provider about the symptoms they are experiencing that lessen their ability to do the things they love, and what treatment options may be available to relieve symptoms.”

The association has developed educational resources to help explain how the valves work, who qualifies as a treatment candidate, how to find treatment evaluation, and the risks and benefits.

Along with a Facebook component, the campaign includes:

The patient offering her perspective is Sue Scott of Newbury, Ohio, a COPD patient whose disease severity caused increasing shortness of breath, which was relieved by placing endobronchial valves in her lung.

“I really wanted to do something so I would feel better. I’ve been living with COPD for some time,” Scott said. “Since having the valves, it’s been incredible. Every day I do something that I couldn’t do before.”

The campaign also seeks to educate primary care providers on including valves in treatment guidelines, procedure risks and benefits, and which candidates are appropriate for evaluation. Resources include:

  • Inclusion in the association’s COPD learning programs
  • Inclusion in the organization’s COPD educator course and implementation, and interpretation of spirometry course
  • An endobronchial valve infographic
  • A video
  • Social campaign on Twitter and LinkedIn

“It has been an honor to work with the American Lung Association to raise awareness for COPD treatment and provide much needed educational materials about Endobronchial Valves,” said Glen French, president and CEO of Pulmonx. “As the leading lung health organization in the United States, the American Lung Association is helping empower patients with COPD and their caregivers to know about all the treatment options available, and advocate for interventions like endobronchial valves, so they can still live a good life, even with advanced disease.”