UCI Health is the first in Orange County to offer new treatment option for severe COPD

November 16, 2021

UCI Health interventional pulmonologists have begun a new procedure for treating severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that is minimally invasive and does not require cutting or incisions. Endobronchial valve replacement places tiny valves in the airways allowing the healthier part of the lungs to expand, and it lifts pressure off the diaphragm to help patients breathe easier.

UCI Health doctors Javier Longoria, MD, and Niral Patel, MD, are the first and only providers in Orange County to offer endobronchial valve replacement.

“As an academic health system, UCI Health is perfectly posed to bring new and novel treatments to the community,” said Longoria. “We successfully performed the first valve replacement in July and are excited to offer this as a treatment option.”

Emphysema is a severe form of COPD. It is a progressive and life-threatening lung disease that currently has no cure. Patients living with emphysema experience shortness of breath, chronic cough and respiratory infections. More than 15 million Americans suffer from COPD, 3.5 million of whom have emphysema.

“Often times, patients with severe COPD don’t qualify for a lung transplant,” said Patel. “This procedure helps improve base-line symptoms for those suffering from severe COPD.”

Approved by the FDA under their "Breakthrough Devices" status, the endobronchial valve treatment represents a major advancement because it is the first minimally invasive procedure to help emphysema sufferers breathe easier without major surgery.

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UCI Health is the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine, and the only academic health system in Orange County. Patients can access UCI Health at primary and specialty care offices across Orange County and at its main campus, UCI Medical Center in Orange, Calif. The 418-bed acute care hospital, listed among America’s Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for 21 consecutive years, provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation services. UCI Medical Center is home to Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centerhigh-risk perinatal/neonatal program and American College of Surgeons-verified Level I adult and Level II pediatric trauma center and regional burn center. UCI Health serves a region of nearly 4 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn and Twitter.

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