Retired paralegal, mom of three, and grandma of four
"Having my severe asthma under control has been a big blessing. I am not your typical patient because I have other medical conditions that I am dealing with, but it is easier to manage those now that my breathing is better controlled."
My Life Prior to BT:
I was first diagnosed with severe asthma in junior high school. I was an equestrian and was a good sprinter back in the day, but I used my inhaler before and after every race. I had wanted to run track as well, but I couldn’t do the longer races because of my breathing difficulties. My asthma did improve in my late twenties and thirties, but then became even harder to manage as I got older.
Over the years I tried so many medications and treatments. I took Montelukast, Singulair™, Advair™, Proventol™, and Breo™ - to name just a few. We also tried allergy shots, many different inhalers, and steroids. On the one hand they helped me breathe, but the side effects are awful. They affected my whole body. I had weight- gain and developed osteopenia (bone thinning) that resulted from the steriods. On top of all that medicine, I would still need my nebulizer and rescue inhaler several times a week. I also made several trips to the ER each year.
I had many triggers for my severe asthma including the weather. When I was living in the mountains, the Santa Ana winds would kick up all the dust and pollen. When the winds were strong it was pretty much a guarantee I would have a bad attack. Cold air was a big issue as well. On cold days I had to put a scarf over my nose and mouth just to walk from my car to the grocery store entrance. My husband and I travelled often, but I would always have to know in advance where the nearest ER would be. If I went on a cruise, the first thing I did was speak to the medical staff on board about my severe asthma. Even when I took all the precautions, there were times we would have to cut our vacation short because of my breathing issues.
When my pulmonologist suggested BT (Bronchial Thermoplasty) I did have reservations, but I was also desperate to try something to get this under control. Severe asthma took a big toll on my life - physically, emotionally, and financially. In addition to living in fear of the next attack, I was fed up with the costs. Between ER trips and medications, I was spending $1000 or more a month on treating my severe asthma.
My Life Today
It’s been about a year and a half and I am breathing better than I have in years. I did experience some complications after the first two procedures due to pneumonia, but I am still very glad I had BT. I think it’s important to have reasonable expectations. I am certainly not cured, but I can say for sure that my asthma is better controlled. I occasionally have attacks but I can handle them now without an ER trip. In fact, I’ve had no hospital stays for asthma since I had my BT!
It was after the third and final procedure that I noticed a difference. When you go for the follow up appointments you complete a questionnaire. I was filling that out when I realized that I was having fewer attacks and the ones I was having were much more manageable. I was also taking less of the medications I needed when I had severe attacks, which was a big deal for my budget!
Due to other health issues, unrelated to asthma, my mobility is still limited but now that my breathing is better I can do simple things. I can take the dog for a walk again!
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.