Ever since she was a little girl, Stacy has loved spending summer days walking along the beach boardwalk. However, a few years ago walking and other daily activities began to trigger “flare-ups” that made it difficult for her to breathe.
After several scary emergency room visits, Stacy was diagnosed by her local pulmonologist with emphysema. A few years later, her symptoms worsened and she needed to use oxygen support full-time. “I had to leave my job... I was only in my 50s,” reflects Stacy. “I felt like people would stare at me whenever we went out to eat because they’d think, ‘She’s so young to be on oxygen.’”
When another flare-up left Stacy hospitalized for a full week, her local pulmonologist referred her to the Temple Lung Center. “My doctor decided they had done everything they could do for me,” adds Stacy. “She had attended medical meetings [at Temple] and knew they had innovative programs.”
Stacy’s new care team at Temple determined she was eligible for a clinical trial called LIBERATE, which involves a procedure called bronchoscopic lung volume reduction (BLVR), where a special tool called a bronchoscope is used to place tiny valves in the lungs. This procedure has since been FDA-approved. To date, Temple is the only hospital to offer the new procedure, which may reduce shortness of breath and improve lung function with benefits lasting at least one year.
“I’m so glad they decided on LIBERATE because it’s a lot less invasive than lung volume reduction surgery,” notes Stacy. “They were able to use a flexible bronchoscope so they didn’t have to make any incisions, and my hospital stay after the procedure was shorter. I can’t even feel the implant.”
For the first year after her procedure, Stacy attended follow-up appointments at Temple every three months. Now, she visits only once each year for follow-up. She also participates in pulmonary rehabilitation three days each week to rebuild her lung strength.
“Between having the procedure done and the pulmonary rehabilitation, all of it has really helped a lot. I feel a lot better,” shares Stacy. “I don’t feel like I’m fighting to breathe so much… and that makes you feel much more confident.”
Stacy says she no longer needs oxygen support for the simple things in life, like sitting and watching the waves crash into the beach or eating out at a restaurant. “I do have a better quality of life,” says Stacy. “And I think it’s awesome that Temple is coming up with new innovations all the time. I’m going to a hospital that’s looking into advances and striving to give people better quality of life.”