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Called Zephyr valves, the devices were approved in 2018 under the FDA’s breakthrough device status because of the need for new treatment options for patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), the third leading cause of death worldwide. COPD can vary in severity, but for people with advanced disease every activity can leave them breathless.

The valves are the first less-invasive option for patients with one form of COPD: severe emphysema. These patients had few options before this treatment and often were waiting on lung transplant lists or oxygen-dependent with very poor quality of life.

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