LIMA — An innovative Spiration valve system that brings relief to those suffering from emphysema was introduced at Lima Memorial Health System on Monday.
The FDA-approved system is a minimally invasive treatment that provides adult patients suffering from emphysema an opportunity for an improved quality of life. Lima Memorial is the second hospital in the state of Ohio to offer the procedure.
The hospital has been working on the program since January with the goal to improve the quality of life for patients, said to Dr. Jason Stienecker, pulmonologist with Lima Memorial Pulmonary Center.
“Patients have air trapping in too much emphysema, and that compresses the lung that works really well with the lung that doesn’t work well,” Stienecker said.
The procedure is performed under anesthetic. A special camera is inserted in the lungs, going to the areas of the bad lung. A one-way valve in that area is installed, so it doesn’t allow air to escape. It decreases problems with the bad part of the lungs and allows the volume of the good part of the lungs to improve.
The system is an umbrella-shaped device that is placed in targeted airways of the lung during a short bronchoscopic procedure, usually lasting fewer that 15 minutes. Once in place, the device redirects air from diseased parts of the lungs to healthier parts, allowing healthy lung tissue to expand and function more effectively.
With a potential reduction in lung volume, without a large and lengthy invasive procedure, a patient may be able to breathe more easily and experience improvements in their quality of life and total lung function, Stienecker said.
He has assisted 10 patients with the procedure since its inception.
“The most common cause of emphysema is smoking, and at this point we have medications, exercise and oxygen to help treat emphysema,” Stienecker said.
The procedure decreases the bad part of the lung and increases the good part of the lung. He said patients who undergo the procedure have a 30 percent reduction in shortness in breath because they are able to exercise, which improves their lungs.
Chris Wilson, 66, of Van Wert, was the second patient to undergo the procedure in August by Stienecker.
“I was a smoker but haven’t smoked for 10 years when I was diagnosed with emphysema. My breathing problems started 10 years ago and had been getting progressively worse,” Wilson said.
Three valves were inserted into one of his lungs that allowed bad air to escape and to keep good air from entering the bad part of his lungs.
“I noticed a difference within the first hour I was awake. That same day I was able to walk three laps around the hospital and felt great,” Wilson said.
His lungs have gotten better every day, and he said the procedure will be a life-changer.
He looks forward to being able to have healthy lungs to spend time with his wife Jody, his two daughters and two grandchildren.
Jody said the procedure has helped her husband’s health.
“It’s nice having the old Chris back. He used to choose to stay home, and that was not normal for him,” Jody said.
She said she noticed the day he came home from the hospital his sense of humor was back, and he had more energy. She heard him laugh for the first time in a long time.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.