What to Expect
What to expect during the valve placement procedure
|The flexible bronchoscope is inserted through your mouth or nose. This procedure is done under sedation or anesthesia, so that you do not feel severe discomfort. Intubation tools, or a breathing machine (ventilator), may be used during sedation and/or anesthesia to help you breathe easier. The doctor performing the procedure will discuss with you the best type of sedation and/or anesthesia for you. The procedure to place valve(s) should take between 30 and 60 minutes.|
First, the procedure doctor will check the suspected airways to identify the location of the air leak by inflating a small balloon that goes through the bronchoscope. The balloon used is very thin and may be made from latex. The balloon does two jobs at once. When the balloon is inflated, it will briefly block an airway to show the doctor if it leads to the leaking tissue and it will also measure the size of that airway. The doctor will use this information to choose the best valve size(s) to fit the airway(s).
|Next, the procedure doctor will place the correct size valve(s) into the selected airway(s) by using a small, thin flexible plastic tube (catheter). The catheter is passed through the bronchoscope to the selected airway.|
|The procedure doctor will be able to see the airway as each valve is placed.|
|Once a valve is placed (implanted), it will open like a small umbrella and block the flow of air into the leaking lung tissue. This will decrease the air flow and/or stop the air leak helping the tissue to heal naturally.|
What to expect after the valve placement procedure
During your recovery in the hospital, the doctor will check on you to see your progress. It is possible that your chest tubes will not be removed, even when the air leak has stopped, because your doctor wants to make sure that the tissue has time to heal. Your doctor, or the procedure doctor, will decide when you will be sent home (discharged) from the hospital. You may be sent home with the chest tubes still in place.
Before you leave the hospital, you will be given instructions for your at-home care. This will include information on any medicines and follow-up visits. You will be given a wallet card that says you have one or more valves and will have the procedure doctor’s contact information. Please keep this card with you at all times and show it to anyone who gives you medical care, including any emergency room medical staff.
What to expect when the valve is removed
The valve(s) will be removed when your doctor thinks that the air leak has stopped and the tissue has healed. This should be in approximately 2-6 weeks. The procedure to remove the valve(s) will be the same as when the valve(s) was placed into your lungs. Removing the valve(s) should take less time. Valve removal may take place before the chest tubes are removed. The valve removal procedure is also done using sedation and a bronchoscope, as described above. The valve(s) will be removed using a very small tool called a grasping forceps, which is inserted through the bronchoscope
|Common biopsy forceps are used for valve removal.|
Please note that this website is meant for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Patients should consult with a physician to discuss treatment alternatives.