Metro Health – University of Michigan Health Offers Breakthrough Treatment for Emphysema

Metro Health – University of Michigan Health Offers Breakthrough Treatment for Emphysema

Mt. Pleasant Area CVB by Mt. Pleasant Area CVB

In a breakthrough for patients suffering from severe emphysema, Metro Health — University of Michigan Health has become one of the first West Michigan health systems to offer a new, minimally-invasive procedure that offers hope for better breathing, without the risk of major surgery.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 3.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with emphysema, a form of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The condition makes it difficult to breathe as air sacs in the lungs are damaged.

The most common cause of COPD is smoking, but other risk factors include secondhand smoke and environmental conditions. The American Lung Association estimates that in Kent County alone 40,557 adults suffer from COPD.

In Kent County alone more than 40,000 adults suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Patients with severe emphysema can feel as though they are fighting to survive day to day instead of living their lives to the fullest. They may struggle to move around the house or complete daily tasks, and leaving the home can be tiresome and frightening. Some patients are connected to supplemental oxygen 24 hours a day.

Many patients can be treated with medication, pulmonary rehabilitation or supplemental oxygen, but if those treatments don’t work, major surgery is their only option. During surgery, damaged lung tissue may be removed or, in the most severe cases, a lung transplant is needed.

In June, the Zephyr™ Valve became the first minimally invasive device approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating patients with severe emphysema.

The Zephyr™ Valve procedure is a 30 to 60 minute process where the doctor uses a bronchoscope, a tiny tube with a camera, to place small valves in airways. This allows parts of the patient’s lungs to expand, lifting pressure off the diaphragm and helping to ease breathing.

“Metro Health — University of Michigan Health is proud to pioneer this groundbreaking treatment for qualifying patients in West Michigan,” said Dr. Peter Hahn, Metro Health President and CEO. “As a pulmonologist,

Dr. Mounir Ghali

I have seen firsthand the debilitating effects on patients who have difficulty breathing. The new procedure offers hope of improved lung function and a better quality of life.”

In its Summary of Safety and Effectiveness Data report, the FDA wrote: “This device offers a significant clinically meaningful advantage over the current standard of care and therefore its ability is also in the best interest of patients.”

Metro Health has identified several patients who are candidates for the Zephyr™ Valve procedure. The first procedure will be performed by Dr. Mounir Ghali, interventional pulmonologist.

Metro Health’s highly-qualified team of pulmonologists have trained in some of the most prestigious institutions across the country.

“I believe we have the best clinical pulmonology program, perhaps in the state,” Dr. Hahn said. “We are providing patients with an option for treating the most advanced lung conditions.”

If you are suffering from lung or respiratory conditions or want to learn more about the Zephyr™ Valve procedure, call Metro Health’s pulmonary specialists at 616-252-5220 or visit

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