My Personal Experience with Endobronchial Valves
I had the valves inserted a year ago in February.
I am a 72 year-old woman. I am at the very severe stage, and had been on oxygen 24/7 for the past almost three years.
It was a very simple procedure, lasting about 45 minutes under anesthesia, with basically no pain and no down time, except that I was in ICU Monday til Thursday as a precaution. My pulmonologist inserted three valves in the upper left lobe of my lung.
I saw an improvement in my breathing
I can say there is definitely an improvement in my breathing, and I now normally have to use oxygen only for sleeping, or activity like housework.
The improvement took about three months, and was very subtle, but I found myself able to go for longer and longer periods without oxygen after about a month or less.
One thing to know is that you can get better stamina and better lung function with a little gentle exercise. I started walking, went to a recumbent exercise bike, and have recently switched to a treadmill. Even just a few minutes a day will help.
Other things to know about the procedure
My pulmonologist had done two of these procedures before mine, and has since done about two dozen. He said he has only had one less-than-great experience and had to remove that one.
I am ready for more valves on the other side! But apparently four is the limit.
Also, be aware that they whistle. They don’t block out all the air, but as they remove it sometimes you can hear them whistling. So can other people, occasionally. But who cares?!
If you decide to have it done, report back. I have never spoken with anyone else who has the valves. And best wishes!
Which of the following best describes your COPD diagnosis?