About three-million Americans live with emphysema. Patients with severe forms of the disease can opt for surgery to cut off part of the lung. But that, of course, can be risky. Now, Dr. Jonathon Truwit is offering patients a new, non surgical option.
Tiny valves are implanted in the lungs through a scope. The valves act like an umbrella, preventing air from entering diseased sections of the lungs and redirect it to healthier areas. There's no incision. As a result, the valve procedure is less risky than standard surgery and recovery is easier.
"I think we're offering opportunities for patients, should this work out, to have non, or a less invasive means of improving their quality of life," says Jonathon Truwit, MD.
"I'm just healthier," says Ronald Baker, one of about 75 patients living with the new valve treatment.
It is FDA approved, but it has its own set of safety risks. About 7% of patients suffer a collapsed lung. But if there are problems, the valves can be removed. So, Dr. Truwit says the valves at least offer an alternative for patients who are too sick to have standard lung surgery.