Karla

 

Age: 36

Hometown: Arlington, Washington

BT Doctor: Dr. Amy Markezich and Dr. Frantz Hastrup

Referring Doctor: N/A

Insurance: N/A

BT Procedure Date: Fall 2015

Karla

Stay at home mom who loves to travel, read, and hang out with her family

"Since BT I’ve just felt better and better. The BT treatment has exceeded all my expectations and the improvement in my severe asthma control has been more than what I could have asked for."

My Life Prior to BT:

I had asthma as a child but didn’t have too many issues with it until I was 26 years old when it came back with a vengeance. I was officially diagnosed with not only severe asthma, but also resistant asthma,” meaning my severe asthma symptoms were no longer controlled by many medications. And trust me when I tell you, I tried them all!

I was on high doses of prednisone (60-80mg almost constantly with the inability to taper without inducing another flare), Advair™ (500/50 twice a day), Qvar™ (two puffs twice a day), Incruse™, fluticasone nasal spray, Zyrtec™, rescue inhalers and multiple neb treatments a day (both DuoNeb™ and Xopenex™). Even with the medications, I was in a constant Ferris wheel of flare ups.

It didn’t matter what started my severe asthma flare (cold/flu, exposure to allergens, etc.); once it started I couldn’t get it under control without major intervention. In a span of 8 years, I spent over 200 days in the hospital requiring at least 3 separate ambulance rides. There were a few times I’d go into the ER and was able to leave after an injection of Solu-Medrol™, but most of the time I’d earn myself an 8-10 day stay of IV steroids and breathing treatments every 4 hours around the clock along with oxygen. I was one step out of ICU multiple times, but thankfully never had to be intubated.

I spent most of my days either in bed or on the couch. I had sleeping issues and could not exercise at all due to my severe asthma. Just walking around the grocery store was a challenge. I had to avoid outdoors and travel was near impossible. 

The hardest part was not being able to have my brain match my body. I wanted to do so many things in my mind. Just normal things like date my husband, play with my kids, go out with friends. But I was so limited and my life revolved around making sure I could take my next breath. 

I first learned about Bronchial Thermoplasty (BT) from searching online for asthma treatments. I stumbled across a website with a video describing BT and tears started streaming down my face. I couldn’t believe there was hope for me for a different life than the one I’d been fighting so hard to live for 8 years. 

Once I decided to move forward with BT, insurance was a big challenge. I was denied several times. I ended up going before the insurance board. We presented multiple letters from my doctors explaining that without this procedure my prognosis was bleak and my life was in grave danger of being shortened. We also brought a cost analysis to show how costly it would be for them if I did not have BT and try to “maintain” my illness with expensive medications and many hospitalizations. We addressed their concerns of it being an “experimental procedure” with actual data of completed trials but I was still denied. Well we decided that we couldn’t put a price on my health so we took out a home equity loan and paid out of pocket. It’ll be a log hard journey to pay it off but was worth every penny!

My Life Today

My procedures went smoothly. I did stay one night in the hospital after each procedure for observation but was released the next morning to recover at home. I required a routine of neb treatments in order to manage the initial “flare” caused by the irritation of the procedure. Although the hardest part of the recovery was the first week out, it was still a few months after the last treatment before I felt recovered and started to really see the benefits. 

Now it has been almost two years since my BT and I cannot even begin to describe how much my life has changed since the procedures as it relates to my severe asthma. Before I could hardly leave the house and now I attend a water aerobics class three times a week! I can drive my kids to school, attend all their concerts and activities, cook dinner, clean the house, and go on dates with my husband without being restricted by my severe asthma. I live my daily life like I used to when I was in my twenties before my asthma became so severe. We went to Disneyland as a family and I walked the parks for 5 days with no wheelchair, no neb treatments, just family fun! 

Since BT I’ve had no ER trips and no hospitalizations for my severe asthma, which is pretty amazing since I was a regular at the hospital before BT. After the way I was living with severe asthma before BT, I can honestly say this has given me my old life back! I still have asthma but now that it is controlled I can participate in life again! 

Without being restricted by my severe asthma now, I am doing swim aerobics and watching lots of football – my husband coaches. My older daughter runs cross country and I go to all her meets. It’s so fun to be a part of things again. I used to be the mom who could sit and read a book with you but now I am the mom who goes out to cheer you on.

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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