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Dignity Health St. Joseph's Hospital Offers Clinical Trial For Patients with Emphysema

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Minimally Invasive Investigational Treatment May Help Lungs Function More Effectively, Enabling Better Breathing and Better Quality of Life.

Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center recently opened a unique clinical trial for patients suffering from severe emphysema, a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). St. Joseph’s Hospital is the only center in Arizona participating in the groundbreaking study, which involves a minimally-invasive treatment that may help patients breathe easier without surgery.

Affecting more than four million people in the United States, emphysema is a progressive lung disease that causes continual breathlessness for patients, even while at rest. Smokers and ex-smokers are most commonly affected by the disease, where portions of destroyed lung trap air in pockets which hyper-inflate and compress healthy areas of the lung. This makes it difficult to breathe, drastically limiting a patient’s stamina and activity level, as well as their quality of life.

While current emphysema patients often use medication and/or inhalers to relieve symptoms, the disease is progressive and the lungs continue to deteriorate over time.  Severe emphysema patients have no commercially-available alternatives except invasive surgery to reduce lung volume or lung transplantation.

The new treatment being investigated in the LIBERATE Study at St. Joseph’s Hospital reduces lung volume by using tiny one-way valves, called Zephyr® Endobronchial Valves, which are placed noninvasively into the lungs, blocking airflow to the diseased regions of the lung. For patients who are identified as candidates, this device allows healthy regions of the lungs to expand and function more efficiently, enabling better breathing and improving quality of life.

“U.S. patients suffering from severe emphysema have very few options today. This new procedure offers a minimally-invasive alternative that may reduce their symptoms and significantly improve their lung function and quality of life,” said Richard Sue, MD, interventional pulmonologist, and primary investigator of the LIBERATE clinical trial at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

More than 25,000 Zephyr valves have been implanted outside of the U.S. in the last 10 years. Clinical studies in Europe have shown that the majority of patients who undergo the procedure experience significant improvement in lung function, exercise tolerance and quality of life.

Results from the LIBERATE Study will be used as part of the submission seeking approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For more information about the LIBERATE clinical trial, please visit or call 1.888.248.LUNG (5)864.  In the United States, the Zephyr Endobronchial Valve is an investigational device, limited by U.S. law to investigational use. - St. Joseph’s

Publish date: 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

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