OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – A new medical procedure is helping COPD patients to breathe again and change their lives for the better.

“I had no air. I had no oxygen whatsoever and that’s all I remember,” said CHI patient Theresa Glover.

For years, Glover struggled with the illness. She had trouble breathing, making it hard for her to do everyday things. Then one day it took a turn for the worst.

“I remember then sweating profusely and shaking like a convulsion and then I don’t remember anything,” she said.

After enduring these tough encounters and hospital stays something had to change.

That’s when Glover learned about a Zephyr Valve procedure while reading a medical magazine. After an evaluation, she was considered a candidate for it at CHI Health.

They are tiny valves that fit into segments of the lung and are placed through a bronchoscopy. They help make it easier to breathe.

According to nurse Jill Danahay, the procedure does wonders but it takes time to adjust.

“People aren’t going to be running marathons, but we want to get them back to activities of daily living that they can be functional,” said Danahay.

Once the valves are placed in the body slowly, but surely patients notice a difference.

Each time they come in we do evaluations and see what they’re able to do now versus what they were able to do before the valve,” she said.

Glover said the valve has changed her life.

“If you really stare at me without me knowing, you’re not going to see me gasp for air like I used to do. I breathe just like everybody, which is great,” she said.

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