Patricia Williams from United Kingdom

Treatment details:

Age at the time of intervention: 63

Treatment centre: Wythenshawe Hospital

Doctor name: Dr Mohamed Al-Aloul

Date of intervention: June 2019

My life before the treatment:

I’d describe myself as a happy-go-lucky kind of person. A real optimist. “Onwards and upwards” is my motto. But being diagnosed with COPD seriously put my positivity to the test.

Before I became unwell, I was always busy doing something. I was both creative and practical — I loved making things. At home I’d make curtains and pillow cases, and enjoyed being active out in the garden, weeding and planting.

My work life was equally hands-on. I had a busy job as an inspector at a big company, showing people how to wire electricity metres. In my spare time, I loved swimming and going to keep fit classes.

I was first diagnosed with COPD in 2004 after a series of chest infections and severe coughing fits. I would cough that much that I would lose control of my bladder. I knew something was seriously wrong.

Having COPD affected everything. I was made redundant due to my ill health. From there things just kept getting worse and I developed severe emphysema. I was becoming more and more breathless. I could barely walk. My husband had to drive me around and drop me off right next to my destination.

I couldn’t manage to get up the stairs at home. We have an old property with a narrow staircase that made putting in a stairlift impossible. My husband became my caregiver. Every day was a challenge.

I started seeing Dr Mohamed Al-Aloul at Wythenshawe Hospital and that’s when I first heard about Zephyr Valve treatment. Dr Al-Aloul was amazing. He clearly and calmly talked me through my treatment options which were either a lung transplant, or Zephyr Valve treatment.

A lung transplant was not something I’d even consider. I thought it would be far too invasive. Something I simply couldn’t cope with. Zephyr Valve treatment, on the other hand, seemed like a good option. Dr Al-Aloul explained exactly how the valves worked and I decided to go for it.

My life after the treatment:

The Zephyr Valve procedure took place in June 2019. I was 63. I was quite nervous before and, to be honest, a bit doubtful too. My breathlessness had become so awful, I couldn’t believe that this treatment would actually work.

It was over in no time. When I woke up, and recovered from the anesthetic, I tentatively tried walking. To my surprise, I could get up right away! There was no pain. I was able to get up and walk around, without getting breathless.

This will sound like an exaggeration, but it was honestly like a miracle! It’s the only way to describe it. My life after the treatment completely changed. Recovery was swift and I was able to be my busy self again.

I could go into the garden and do weeding. I could walk around the block. I was able to go swimming. I could go up and downstairs again. You’ll laugh, but I had honestly forgotten what upstairs looked like!

I even started going to the gym. There was a trainer doing a special programme for COPD patients. I went once a week and really looked forward to it each time. I built up my stamina until I was able to do an hour of cycling, weights and treadmill walking — something I never would have thought possible before treatment.

Sadly, I’ve not been able to do as much lately because of the lockdown. But fortunately, I’ve got a 90 ft garden, which is a god send. I’ve been able to get out every day and walk up and down. It’s actually quite good exercise as it goes downhill, so I have to walk uphill on the way back.

I can’t wait for lockdown to lift so I can see all of my grandchildren and great grandchildren again. I’m also looking forward to going back to the gym, to swimming, to visiting family and friends. I want to do everything I couldn’t do before I had Zephyr Valve treatment — really make the most of everything I can do now.

What would I say to anyone with severe emphysema who is eligible for the Zephyr Valves?

Just go for it! It’ll be the best thing you’ve ever done.

What is the Zephyr Valve procedure?

The Zephyr Valve is intended for the treatment of patients with severe emphysema – a form of COPD. A physician uses a bronchoscope to place on average 4 tiny valves in the airways to block off the damaged areas of the lungs so air no longer gets trapped there. No cutting or incision is required and the procedure is usually completed in under an hour.

The valve placement allows the healthier parts of the lungs to expand and relieves the pressure on the diaphragm, which decreases shortness of breath and makes breathing easier. Patients report being able to take full breaths immediately after the procedure and within a few days are back to doing everyday tasks with ease.


The results of case studies do not necessarily allow conclusions to be drawn in other cases. Results in other cases can be different. Possible complications associated with the endobronchial valve treatment include: Pneumothorax, deterioration of the COPD symptoms, pneumonia, dyspnea and in rare cases death.

GLO-EN-864-v1 April 2021 – UK Patient Story Patricia Williams