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Bronchoscopic Lung Volume Reduction (BLVR)

This leading-edge, minimally invasive treatment can help reduce symptoms of severe emphysema and let you breathe easier — without surgery.

Bronchoscopic Lung Volume Reduction (BLVR) - Ganesh Krishna

Bronchoscopic lung volume reduction (BLVR) is a minimally invasive method to improve breathing, lung function and quality of life in people with end-stage emphysema, an advanced type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Our Mountain View hospital (El Camino Hospital) was the first hospital in California to perform this procedure and offers leading expertise in the Bay Area for this advanced approach. The Taft Center for Clinical Research at El Camino Health was among the centers to participate in the international clinical trial that led to U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of BLVR. In fact, the clinical teams have performed the second highest number of brochoscopic lung volume reduction procedures in the country.

Benefits of BLVR

BLVR is an effective treatment option for people with emphysema who suffer from ongoing shortness of breath, despite using COPD medications and/or oxygen, as prescribed. In clinical trials, people who have undergone BLVR have been shown to:

  • Breathe easier.
  • Be more active and energetic.
  • Be short of breath less often.
  • Enjoy a significantly improved quality of life compared to untreated patients.

How BLVR Works

Bronchoscopic lung volume reduction is an interventional pulmonology procedure that doesn’t require surgical incisions (cuts).

Your doctor will give you medicine to make you sleepy. They will insert a small tube with a camera called a bronchoscope through your nose or mouth and into your lungs. Working through the tube, your doctor will place one-way valves (either a Zephyr® Endobronchial Valve or a Spiration® Valve) in your lung airways — most people need four valves. The valves stop air from entering the diseased part of the lungs and allow trapped air and fluid to escape. This allows the healthy areas of the lungs to expand and function better, which can help minimize shortness of breath and let you be more active. The valves are designed to be permanent, but they can be removed at any time.

Many people report being able to take full, deep breaths immediately after the procedure. You should plan to stay overnight in the hospital for about three days after the BLVR procedure. You should be able to resume your normal activities shortly after returning home.

Talk to your doctor to find out if bronchoscopic lung volume reduction is right for you.

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