Pulmonology, Research & Technology

Spectrum Health Offers New Treatment for COPD

First in West Michigan to offer targeted lung denervation, a new, investigational option for sufferers of common lung disease

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Jan. 28, 2021 – Spectrum Health is the first health system in West Michigan to offer targeted lung denervation, an investigational treatment option for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.

Targeted lung denervation (TLD) is a bronchoscopic intervention designed to disrupt pulmonary nerve reflexes, which may have the potential to reduce COPD exacerbation, a symptom flare-up commonly referred to as a “lung attack.”

COPD is characterized by a persistent airflow limitation that is chronic and progressive. COPD interferes with normal breathing, so its most common symptom is persistent breathlessness. Exacerbations, or “attacks” are sudden flare-ups of respiratory symptoms such as breathlessness, coughing, and wheezing, which, left untreated, increase the risk for hospitalization and exacerbate the symptoms of the disease.

The AIRFLOW-3 Clinical Trial, sponsored by Nuvaira, is targeting exacerbation risk reduction in COPD patients through the use of TLD. The trial is enrolling patients with moderate-to-severe COPD, a high number of symptoms and a history of COPD exacerbations in up to 25 centers in the USA, and additional centers in Europe.

Gustavo Cumbo-Nacheli, MD, and team members performed the first targeted lung denervation procedure at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital on December 29, 2020. The first enrolled patient at Butterworth Hospital was successfully treated with TLD therapy and returned home the same day.

“Many of our COPD patients experience lung exacerbations which cannot be controlled with their inhaler medications,” said Dr. Cumbo Nacheli, director, Bronchoscopy Services. “The development of interventional therapies such as TLD may stabilize COPD patients and help reduce their risk of exacerbation.  Based on the existing evidence, we are enthusiastic about the potential of TLD to meet a true unmet medical need and are glad to participate in the AIRFLOW-3 Clinical Trial.”

COPD is incurable, but treatable. It is one of the leading, yet under-recognized causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. In the U.S. and Europe, the main cause of COPD is smoking, yet environmental factors such as air pollution, secondhand smoke, fumes and chemicals (occupational exposure) can also cause COPD.  More than 300 million people are estimated to have COPD1 worldwide, with more than 19 million adults in the U.S. The prevalence of COPD increases with age, from 3.2% among those aged 18 – 44 years to 11.6% among those aged >65 years . The U.S. annual healthcare burden of COPD is estimated at $50 billion per year2.

[1] Criner, G, Current Controversies in COPD, Report from the GOLD Committee, AJRCCM 2018

2 Criner, R, Mortality and Exacerbations by GOLD ABCD in the COPDGene cohort_J.COPD.F, 2018


About Spectrum Health
Spectrum Health System, a not-for-profit, integrated health system, is committed to improving the health and wellness of our communities. We live our mission every day with 31,000 compassionate professionals, 4,600 medical staff experts, 3,300 committed volunteers and a health plan serving more than 1 million members. Our talented physicians and caregivers are privileged to offer a full continuum of care and wellness services to our communities through 14 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, 150 ambulatory sites and telehealth offerings. We pursue health care solutions for today and tomorrow that diversify our offerings. Locally-governed and based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, our health system provided $550 million in community benefit in calendar year 2019. Thanks to the generosity of our communities, we received $37 million in philanthropy to support research, academics, innovation and clinical care. Spectrum Health has been recognized as one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems by Truven Health Analytics®, part of IBM Watson HealthTM.

About Nuvaira
Nuvaira is headquartered in Minneapolis, MN. The company’s proprietary Nuvaira® Lung Denervation System addresses airway hyper-responsiveness, a pathophysiologic underpinning of both COPD and asthma, in a procedure called Targeted Lung Denervation (TLD). The Nuvaira Lung Denervation System is an investigational device in the United States and has CE mark approval in the European Economic Area (EEA). Nuvaira has completed and published four clinical studies, including AIRFLOW-2, a randomized, sham-controlled double-blind multicenter clinical trial.  www.Nuvaira.com


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