Orlando Health Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC) is first in Central Florida to offer a new treatment for severe emphysema

The lung valve is the first FDA-approved device to help patients with emphysema breathe easier without major surgery.

Orlando, FL (July 12, 2019) – Difficulty breathing is becoming easier for patients at Orlando Health Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC).  Orlando HealthORMC is the first hospital in Central Florida to offer a new lung valve treatment for patients with severe emphysema, a progressive and life-threatening form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  The Zephyr® Endobronchial Valve System, by Pulmonx® Corp. is the first minimally-invasive device approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help emphysema sufferers breathe with ease, without major surgery.

“The endobronchial valve system is a significant advancement for patients with severe emphysema,” said Mark A. Vollenweider, MD, MPH, FCCP, interventional pulmonologist, and section chief, Pulmonary Medicine, Orlando Health ORMC. “The valve treatment improves patients’ quality of life by allowing patients to breathe easier, be less short of breath, and be more active and energetic. One patient who was once unable to walk from the car to the office, has enjoyed multiple trips overseas. Another patient is able to enjoy a hobby after years of leaving it behind. Whether returning to work, enjoying retirements, or celebrations in between, the outcomes have been life changing for our patients.”

The one-time treatment is done during a simple bronchoscopy – a procedure that allows doctors to examine your lungs and air passage, and requires no cutting or incisions. During the procedure, on average four tiny valves are placed in the airways to block off the diseased parts of the lungs where air gets trapped. Keeping air from getting trapped in the diseased parts of the lung allows the healthier parts of the lungs to expand and take in more air. This results in patients being able to breathe easier and have less shortness of breath. 

According to the National Emphysema Foundation, an estimated 3.1 million Americans have been diagnosed with emphysema. Prior to the new valve treatment, emphysema management included medication, oxygen therapy, major surgery, or lung transplant. 

The Zephyr Endobronchial Valve treatment was granted Breakthrough Device designation by the FDA based on positive clinical data from the pivotal LIBERATE Study and two other multicenter randomized control trials. Orlando Health ORMC was a site in the LIBERATE Study.

“We are honored to have been part of the research that led to the groundbreaking treatment options for patients,” said Dr. Vollenweider. “It is exciting and rewarding to be part of a team committed to quality and advanced care for patients.”

About Orlando Health 

Orlando Health is a $3.8 billion not-for-profit healthcare organization and a community-based network of hospitals, physician practices and outpatient care centers across Central Florida. The organization is home to the area’s only Level One Trauma Centers for adults and pediatrics, and is a statutory teaching hospital system that offers both specialty and community hospitals. More than 3,100 physicians have privileges across the system, which is also one of the area’s largest employers with more than 20,200 employees who serve more than 97,000 inpatients, more than 2.5 million outpatients, and more than 4,800 international patients each year.  Additionally, Orlando Health provides more than $360 million in total value to the community in the form of charity care, community benefit programs and services, community building activities and more. Additional information can be found at

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