Mom, Grandma, and Speech and Language Pathologist
"Having BT was one of the best decisions of my life! Asthma is chronic and I’ll always have asthma, but now that it is controlled, I can also have a life!"
My Life Prior to BT:
I was diagnosed with asthma in my mid-30s. I had probably lived with it for a while. I was at a function and a nurse asked me “how long have you had asthma?” I quickly told her that I did not have asthma and she replied with a firm confirmation that she was sure I did. Shortly after that encounter I went to the doctor and they confirmed it was asthma and it was pretty severe already. The older I got, the worse it became.
We tried many medications including theophylline, Advair™, Xolair™ and many different inhalers. Some of the medication would work for a short time, but then they would stop working. As my asthma grew more severe, I was relying on my inhalers 10-12 times a day on average. Even with the many medications, I would still need rounds of prednisone every so often. The steroids caused a lot of unwanted side effects for me including osteoporosis, weight gain, and mood swings.
The medication side effects were not even the worst of it. The impact on my quality of life and on my family was devastating. I missed so much work that I often went over my limit for sick time. I was lucky that my teachers’ union had a sick bank where I could borrow sick days from others. My mother gave me a cup that read “I’ve called in sick so many times, now I call in dead!” Even a simple shopping trip was difficult. I would go to the mall, but if I couldn’t get a parking spot close to the door, I would go home. It’s embarrassing to have to sit and catch your breath in a store just from walking across the parking lot!
My family suffered too. I couldn’t do all the things a mom is supposed to do. When my kids were young I missed important things like award ceremonies and concerts; things I can never get back. Travelling was difficult. If we went on a road trip, I always researched beforehand where the hospitals were located. We live in New England and are boaters. Over the years I’ve been in many ERs from Nantucket, to Martha’s vineyards, to Block Island.
In the years leading up to BT, I started to have more ER visits and hospitalizations. One year I was in the hospital 5 times. I did have one near death exacerbation at home as well. I was lucky that I got to the ER in time.
My doctor was always looking for new ways to get my asthma under control and I was very willing to try BT even though back then it was quite new. I was actually one of the first people on the eastern seaboard to have the procedure. Overall the procedures went really well. I was able to go home the same day and had few issues between treatments.
My Life Today
It’s been over 5 years and I am still reaping the benefits. There really is no comparison between my asthma then and my asthma now. I don’t even think about my asthma anymore. Before BT I was terrified of my asthma because when your asthma is very severe, every attack you think you may die.
Yes, I still get short of breath sometimes or get a little wheezy occasionally, but my medications work now. My asthma is controlled. I went from being in the hospital 5 times per year to only having gone one time in the five years since BT!
I sometimes see those blue hospital signs when I’m driving and always think “not today!” When I travel I no longer research where the closest ER will be.
The best part though is being able to help take care of my two granddaughters without worrying about having a severe attack. I see them almost every day and they are such a joy for me.
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.