John

 

Age: 80

Hometown: Orlando, FL

BT Doctor: Dr. Tabarak Qureshi

Referring Doctor: N/A

Insurance: Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield

BT Procedure Date: Fall 2013

John

Senior Executive Consultant, Father, and Proud Grandpa who loves tennis and traveling!

"I’ve returned to the life I had 15 years ago. I’m eternally grateful for this."

My Life Prior to BT:

I’ve had severe asthma since I was a young child. I remember doctors shooting me up with adrenaline for my attacks because that was all that was available back then. My asthma was a constant issue. I tried to go to college on the East Coast. I had such a bad attack there and was hospitalized so I ended up switching to a university in Arizona because the dry air was better for my breathing. After college I moved to California and my asthma was manageable as long as I stayed away from animals. Then in 1993 I moved back to the East Coast and it turned severe again. 

Living on the East Coast with severe asthma was a challenge. My oak and pine tree allergies were very severe. I couldn’t do yard work or really be outside for any length of time. Some days I couldn’t even have the windows open in the house. The doctors started to tell me I should move. I was rushed to the hospital several times when we lived in North Carolina so finally we decided to move to Florida in 2008.

To say I’ve tried it all is an understatement. From adrenaline shots and x-ray treatments as a kid to all the medication options that came out over the years. Advair™, Singulair™, you name it, I’ve tried them all. The doctors would tell me that once an attack starts I have to get to the hospital because the medications, inhalers, and nebulizers were not going to get me through. I had to get to the ER often. It was a scary way to live.

The only thing that would get my attacks under control was the prednisone. I would have to go on high bursts of steroids sometimes because nothing else would work. But that prednisone is a vicious cycle. You take it and it helps you breathe but it suppresses the immune system too so I would always end up sick with pneumonia and back in the hospital again. And the side effects of the steroids were also difficult. I had trouble sleeping and was very irritable. 

At that point, my severe asthma was so bad I couldn’t exercise like I was supposed to for my heart health. I felt like I was on my last leg. I heard about BT but the only hospital where it was available did not take my insurance. As soon as I found a doctor that accepted my insurance I knew this was what I needed to do.

My Life Today

The procedures went well for me. I had a bit of a cough after the procedures but that was expected. The cough was the strongest after the third procedure but resolved within about four days. I would tell people not to be afraid of this procedure. I went home the same day and ate dinner. It was easier than a colonoscopy for me!

It was a couple of months after the procedure that I started to see big improvements with my asthma control. My nephew is a canine police officer with the big German shepherds. Before BT, he couldn’t come to see me because the dog hair would set off my asthma. Now he can not only visit me, but I can give him a hug!

I am several years post BT now and my life as it relates to severe asthma is completely different. I’ve had no ER trips or hospitalizations for my asthma since BT and I don’t take bursts of steroids for severe attacks anymore. I am back to work as a senior executive consultant to an engineering company. Sometimes I go out to my client’s office and work 13 hour days and it’s no problem for me.

Now I have a life that does not feel limited by my severe asthma. Before BT, I was out of shape, couldn’t work out, and suffered a heart attack. Now that my severe asthma is under better control I am back working out daily. I am in the best shape I’ve been in for a very long time. I have a real passion for playing tennis and after three long sets the younger guys will want to quit but not me.

I am so grateful I had this procedure. I told my doctor that this gave me my life back. My severe asthma is not cured, but it’s so manageable now.

Best of all, I can travel freely again. My wife and I go to visit our kids and grandchildren. We can even visit my son who has cats. As long as the cats are kept upstairs away from me, I do okay. Before BT I wasn’t able to visit him at all.

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

Reference

  1. Castro M, et al, for the AIR2 Trial Study Group. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2010;181:116-124.
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