Life-Changing Procedure Helps Bloomingdale Woman to Breathe Again

These days, Melissa Mitchell may walk up to 10,000 steps a day near her Bloomingdale home in the Adirondacks.

Just a few short months ago, she could barely walk 500 feet a day.

A former smoker, Mitchell suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) for many years. She lived with a constant tightness in her chest and had difficulty breathing. The disease had progressed so much that she spent about a year on supplemental oxygen, twenty-four hours per day.

Then, following a recommendation from her cardiologist at Albany Medical Center, Mitchell was seen by interventional pulmonologist Nagendra Madisi, MD. He identified her as a candidate for a new, FDA-approved treatment called endobronchial valve placement by bronchoscopy.

This non-surgical, inpatient procedure uses a bronchoscope – a thin tube inserted into the lungs via the nose or mouth – to place small, permanent one-way valves in the lungs. The valves block off the diseased parts of the lungs, helping the healthy areas to function more efficiently.

She felt an immediate difference.

“It did more than I ever expected it to,” Mitchell said about her November 2020 procedure. Her vitals were so good, Dr. Madisi had her taken off oxygen while she was still in the hospital.

Today, her ability to breathe has improved dramatically and she experiences fewer instances of shortness of breath. She now only needs oxygen when sleeping or wearing a mask.

“Lung disease is a hard thing,” said Mitchell. “This procedure was life-changing.”