Hilary Fake - United Kingdom

Treatment details:

Age at treatment: 68

Hospital: Nottingham City Hospital

Date of procedure: July, 2018

Life Before Zephyr® Valves:

I’m a glass half full kind of person. Always looking on the bright side, ready to enjoy life. I jokingly describe myself to my family as a “recycled teenager”. Young at heart — a teenager in mind, if not in body.

Before I retired, I had a busy job as an accountant. And since then, I’ve always kept busy — I’m never sitting still. I love all things creative — sewing, gardening, a bit of DIY and jigsaw puzzles.

But when I was diagnosed with severe emphysema, a form of COPD, I had to start taking life at a slower pace.

I received my diagnosis in 2012. Before that, they thought it was asthma. But after an eight day stay in hospital with bronchopneumonia, the doctors confirmed it was more serious.

It was a frightening time. I couldn’t get my breath at all. And because I’d not experienced an episode like this before, I didn’t know how to control my breathing and panic set in. Which of course made things worse.

After my diagnosis, life became less spontaneous. I was always having to plan ahead. Wondering how many steps there were. Trying to work out if I could get to where I needed to be without becoming totally out of breath.

I live on my own, and having always been independent, I was determined not to let my condition stop me. I still did all of the housework, I just had to break it down into manageable tasks. I would have become too breathless if I tried to do it all at once.

I’ve looked after my step grandchildren since birth. My illness meant I couldn’t chase after them like I used to. The little ones got to understand this, bless them. They knew nan was having breathing problems. But I was sad I couldn’t play with them in the same way.

I felt like I’d been going downhill since my diagnosis and wanted to get proper treatment. I started seeing a consultant at Derby Royal and they discussed the Zephyr Valve opportunity with me. I was immediately interested.

I was referred to Amy Binion, and after some tests she said I was eligible for the treatment. She explained it would be a minimally invasive procedure. I thought to myself “In for a penny, in for a pound!”, and agreed to go for it.

Life With Zephyr Valves:

My treating physician was Professor Baldwin, he carried out my Zephyr Valve procedure at Nottingham City Hospital on the 19th July 2018. I was 68.

The procedure went smoothly. I wasn’t a fan of the taste of the anesthetic, it tasted like rotten bananas! But other than that, no complaints. I was asleep throughout and woke up when it was done.

As soon as I came around, I was able to get out of bed and walk around the room. I noticed straight away that I had no breathing difficulties. I walked across the ward, without even having to think about my inhaler.

My recovery was quick. I was in on Thursday, home by Sunday. But I’d have come home even sooner if it was up to me.

I decided to put my new found energy to good use. You won’t believe it, but I decorated the house from top to bottom when I got home. It’s an old Victorian terrace. So there I was with steps on the table, mountaineering to reach the ceiling.

Day-to-day life was much improved. Housework was so much easier. Shopping wasn’t a problem. I didn’t have to plan ahead so much. I was able to be much more spontaneous.

I saw a big change when I next went on holiday, too. Walking up the aeroplane pane steps no longer phased me. Before my treatment, those stairs were a real trial — horrendous! Afterwards, I went up them without a thought.

And the best bit of life since my treatment? That has to be my nephew’s wedding. I was straight up on the dance floor! No one could stop me, I was really giving it some. Showing off my famous nan dancing. A true “recycled teenager.”

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

Go for it! It gave me my life back.

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 more 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. The Zephyr® Endobronchial Valve is an implantable bronchial valve intended to control airflow in order to improve lung functions in patients with hyperinflation associated with severe emphysema and/or to reduce air leaks. The Zephyr Valve is contraindicated for: Patients for whom bronchoscopic procedures are contraindicated; Evidence of active pulmonary infection; Patients with known allergies to Nitinol (nickel-titanium) or its constituent metals (nickel or titanium); Patients with known allergies to silicone; Patients who have not quit smoking. Use is restricted to a trained physician. Prior to use, please reference the Zephyr Endobronchial System Instructions for more information on indications, contraindications, warnings, all precautions, and adverse events.
OTH-EN-1056-v1 Patient Story Hilary Fake