LOUISVILLE, Ky. — University of Louisville doctors are calling a new treatment for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) a game changer.
Doctors are now able to insert four tiny valves into a patient's airways that block off the diseased part of the lungs while letting trapped air escape.
The Zephyr Endobronchial Valves allow healthier parts of the lung to take more air in.
Tommi Richardson was a smoker for 20 years before she was diagnosed with COPD, which is the third leading cause of disease-related death in the U.S.
She was shocked when a doctor told her he had "never seen anyone's lungs in such bad shape."
The new treatment took Richardson off of the lung transplant list and she's now healthier and more active at 63 than she's been in a long time.
"I wasn't able to go places," Richardson said. "I just didn't have the stamina. I was in a wheelchair."
"People see me walking in now and go, 'oh my gosh, what happened? Did you get a transplant?' I say, no, this is better," she said.
Dr. Umair Gauhar, a doctor at U of L Health, was the one who performed the life-changing procedure.
"Seeing her is amazing. This is the best part of healthcare," he said. "Where you are able to not only improve a patient's symptoms, but in the big scheme of things, their lives."
Dr. Gauhar is holding a Patient Education Webinar on Nov. 30 to let more people know about this procedure and how it could help improve their lives.
To register and find more information, click here.