Nurse and mother who enjoys running yoga, and hiking
"Having my severe asthma under control is a life changer for me – I can breathe now. I love to run, do yoga, hike, and spend time with my three amazing kids. I am going to be a grandma soon and I am so grateful that I now have the opportunity to focus on taking care of my granddaughter instead of struggling to breathe and worrying about the next asthma attack."
My Life Prior to BT:
I was about 5 years old when I was diagnosed with severe asthma. I was very sick as a child, but it was better controlled in my teenage years. Then as an adult my severe asthma became much more difficult to control again. It had a pattern. A few times a year I would get a bad cold, it would turn into pneumonia, my asthma would flare up, and I would end up in the hospital.
Over the years I tried so many medications and treatments. I took Advair™, Singulair™, Combivent™, and many inhalers. I tried allergy shots but I just couldn’t handle that. I would end up breaking out in hives and after a few tries, my allergist said, “this is not going to work.” I was not a candidate for Xolair™. So for me that meant taking prednisone to help control my severe asthma attacks. In the years leading up to having Bronchial Thermoplasty (BT) I could not stay out of the hospital. I would try to wean down to 20mg of prednisone, but then I would end up in ICU and back on high doses again. It was a vicious cycle.
I first heard about BT when I was in the hospital in my early thirties. My initial thought was “no way, I don’t need that because I’m not that bad.” Then a few years later, a nurse I was working with told me that her husband had BT and that he was doing so well now. He was back playing volleyball which he loved. I was interested at that point but still leery about trying something new. And I honestly didn’t think I was that sick, but really, I was in pretty bad shape. I had just become so use to dealing with it.
Then 2014 came and I could not get out of the hospital to save my life. We tried all kinds of medication combinations. In addition to the regular asthma meds, I tried sinus surgery, netty pots, eating nothing but organic food. You name it, I tried it. But nothing worked. Finally, my PCP sent me to see a pulmonologist. Later that year I had a very bad asthma attack and went SVT (super ventricular cardiac). I ended up back in the hospital where I coded and was put on bipap. I was in for 10 days. That’s when I knew I had to try BT.
BT was denied by my insurer. I appealed three times and was denied each time even though my insurance advocate had showed that in just one year with hospitalizations, I had cost them over $800,000! In the meantime, I had to take a leave from work because I was so sick. When I went on leave, my insurance switched to Mass Health and thankfully they agreed to cover BT.
My Life Today
It’s been almost 4 years and I am so glad I decided to have BT! I look back now and realize that before BT I was losing my quality of life to severe asthma.
BT has greatly improved my asthma-related quality of life. Due to other health issues not related to asthma, the road to full recovery has been long but I am happy to report that I am now doing well now and having my asthma under control is a big part that.
Since BT my breathing has been great. I can do simple things that I could not do before like take a walk in the cold weather. I’ve started to work out again. I’ve only had one incident where I had to go to the hospital for a breathing issue. Once in 4 years is much better than multiple times per year before BT.
Results from case studies are not necessarily predictive of results in other cases. Results in other cases may vary.
Brief Statement of Relevant Indications for Use, Contraindications, Warnings, and Adverse Events: The Alair™ Bronchial Thermoplasty System is indicated for the treatment of severe persistent asthma in patients 18 years and older whose asthma is not well controlled with inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta-agonists. The Alair System is not for use in patients with an active implantable electronic device or known sensitivity to medications used in bronchoscopy. Previously treated airways of the lung should not be retreated with the Alair System. Patients should be stable and suitable to undergo bronchoscopy. The most common side effect of BT is an expected transient increase in the frequency and worsening of respiratory-related symptoms. ENDO-551804-AA
As with any procedure, there are risks, and individual results may vary. The most common adverse event of BT is a temporary worsening of respiratory-related symptoms. These events typically occur within one day of the BT procedure and usually resolve within a week with standard care. There is a small risk (3.4% per procedure) that symptoms may require hospitalization.1
- Castro M, et al, for the AIR2 Trial Study Group. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2010;181:116-124.