Mom and Deputy Chief Nursing Officer, Oregon State Psychiatric Hospital
"I would love to share my story because I feel so grateful and so blessed to have had BT. I would do it again in a heartbeat."
My Life Prior to BT:
I was diagnosed with mild allergic asthma at just 2 years old. For most of my life my asthma was well controlled. It was seasonal and very manageable. I was able to live an overall healthy life. I received a volleyball scholarship in college and remained an avid exerciser after graduating but after my third baby my asthma became severe.
I tried many medications including Advair®, Singulair®, Zyrtec®, Benadryl®, Xolair®, Zyflo®, Spiriva®, and prednisone. In addition to daily nebs at home, I would go through a 225-spray inhaler in less than two weeks. Even with maximum medication use, I was a regular at the hospital. In the years leading up to BT I had one 8 day stay and was probably in the hospital about 3-4 days every month. It was no way to live that’s for sure.
As a mom, wife, and nurse, my severe asthma impacted all aspects of my life. I could no longer exercise, missed work, and couldn’t even take my kids outside. I also had trouble sleeping. I could only sleep sitting up in a chair because if I lied down I was instantly short of breath.
The medications became less and less effective for me and I began to require constant prednisone including doses by injection. My allergist had discussed how serious my situation was and that he was not sure how to make me better. Around that time my husband saw a TV news segment about Bronchial Thermoplasty (BT) and did some online research. We knew right away that we wanted to discuss it with the doctors because I was running out of options. I wasn’t really afraid of having the BT procedures. I was more afraid of what would happen to me if I didn’t do something to get my severe asthma under control.
Once I decided I wanted BT I had another battle to face: insurance. When my doctor initially submitted my paperwork my insurance denied it. I appealed the denial and was actually in the hospital with a severe attack when I received a call from the insurance company telling me I was denied again. I filed a grievance after that and it went to a hearing.
I took all the medications I was on with me to that hearing and explained the devastating impact my severe asthma had on my family. I explained how it limited every aspect of my life including being a mom, a wife, and an employee. I told them I just wanted to have a normal life and BT was my only chance for this. Within 48 hours after the hearing, my insurance company approved BT.
My Life Today
The procedures went very smoothly for me. I was able to come home the same day after all three. I was short of breath after each one but it was no worse than when I had an attack before BT.
A few months after my BT procedures my husband and I took a dream trip to Hawaii. It was my present for getting through my BT. We kayaked across the bay and when we stopped my husband had tears in his eyes. He knew kayaking across that bay was a big moment for me. Right then we knew my life was going to be so different now that my severe asthma was finally under control.
One of the biggest impacts of BT is just being able to do simple everyday activities without having to worry about having an attack. I am back exercising. I am able to host big get-togethers at our house and have birthday parties for my kids. I do regular mom stuff now. I feel like BT has let me be a normal person again.
I can’t put into words what this procedure has done for me. I still have asthma but I am living the life I want now because it is manageable. I don’t live in fear of the severe attacks anymore. Before BT my asthma controlled my life. Now I am living life on my terms.
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.