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Ronny N.’s Story

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BRONCHOSCOPIC LUNG VOLUME REDUCTION

COPD patient Ronny who underwent bronchoscopic lung volume reduction (BLVR), a new procedure developed at Temple.

Ronny had been slowing down for months, so he knew something wasn’t right. Still, the diagnosis of a life-threatening lung disease came as a shock.

“I was working as a carpenter, and I would get so out of breath when I had to carry something heavy,” he says. “I thought it might be something wrong with my heart. Then my doctor told me I had COPD.”

Ronny was put on medication after his diagnosis, but his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease slowly worsened over the years. Things came to a head when he couldn’t catch his breath on a drive back from Connecticut with his brother.

Upon arriving in Philadelphia, Ronny’s brother took him directly to the Temple University Hospital Emergency Room. He was admitted and spent 3 days in the ICU, but it was at Temple where he found hope for his condition.

‘Eye-opening’ care at Temple

During his stay at Temple, Ronny was under the care of pulmonologist Gilbert D’Alonzo, MD. Ronny had such a good experience that he switched all of his care to Temple, saying it was “probably the best decision I ever made.”

Ronny says Temple gave him options he wasn’t offered before, including a nebulizer, oxygen, and a CPAP machine to help him breathe easier at night.

In one day at Temple I learned more about my COPD than I did after 7 years somewhere else.

- Ronny N.

He also began attending a Temple COPD Support Group, and he was enrolled in a remote monitoring program that allowed him to report his vital signs daily using his phone.

“In one day at Temple I learned more about my COPD than I did after 7 years somewhere else,” Ronny says. “The Temple Lung Center has so much more to offer…it opened my eyes to how great Temple is.”

Ronny can now do the things he likes to do, like exercising and visiting his friends.

Breathing easier thanks to a novel procedure

As time went on, it became clear that Ronny needed a long-term solution to his breathing problems. Temple Lung Center Director Gerard J. Criner, MD, recommended a new procedure developed at Temple called bronchoscopic lung volume reduction, or BLVR for short. This nonsurgical procedure implants tiny valves into a patient’s airways to block diseased parts of the lung.

The valves are not a cure for COPD. Instead, they allow heathier regions of the lungs to expand and function more efficiently. The result can be easier breathing, improved exercise tolerance and a better quality of life.

There’s a corner store near my house, and I used to have to stop twice to catch my breath to get there. A week after the procedure I didn’t have to stop.

- Ronny N.

Ronny had 6 valves implanted, and he quickly noticed the difference.

“There’s a corner store near my house, and I used to have to stop twice to catch my breath to get there,” he says. “A week after the procedure I didn’t have to stop. I was at the store grinning to myself and trying not to scream. I didn’t want everyone to think I was crazy, but it was just so cool.”

Although Ronny still has limitations due to his COPD, his quality of life has improved significantly.

“I can do the things I like to do, visit my friends, go play chess, walk to the grocery store. I have more confidence doing these things now,” he says. “If it wasn’t for the great team at Temple, I don’t know where I would be.”

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