Sam

 

Age: 23

Hometown: Grand Rapids, MN

BT Doctor: Dr. Sonja Bjerk, Essentia Health

Referring Doctor: General Practitioner

Insurance: Health Partners

BT Procedure Date: Spring 2014

Sam

Bank Teller Who Loves Dogs, Running, and Adventures

"I am always willing to talk about my BT, even on the news, because I want other young people to know that you don't have to suffer through it anymore. It is amazing to know that I can tell my story and help other severe asthma sufferers know that this option may be available."

My Life Prior to BT:

I was diagnosed with asthma at 5 years old. As I grew older it worsened. There was a short period of time, around middle school, where it was well controlled but as I became a teenager it became out of control.

I tried many medications to control my asthma including Flovent™, Singulair™, Advair™, Dulera™, Spiriva™, and Symbicort™. Even with all the medications, I still needed rounds of prednisone. I was using my inhaler at least 6 times a day and doing nebulizer treatments several times a month.

My asthma has both allergic triggers and non-allergic triggers. There really was never a good time of the year for me. In the winter the cold air was a trigger; in the spring and fall it was my allergies; and in the summer the humidity was an issue. I really had to limit my time outdoors.

I was never hospitalized for my asthma but it had a big impact on my quality of life. I was always sleep deprived because I would be up using my inhaler several times per night. I often missed school or was sent home early from school because of my asthma. When I was younger I played sports, but as I got older and my asthma grew worse I was just too scared to try sports. Even when I did participate in a field trip or something, having an attack was always on my mind. I lived in constant worry and was afraid to ever be alone.

It was my doctor who suggested BT. She showed me how it worked using a lung model and some pictures. I was afraid at first. It's a little scary because as asthmatics we take medication. That's our thing right? So a procedure was intimidating to me, but after you've tried medications and your asthma is still so bad you become desperate for a new option.

My Life Today

The procedures went fairly smooth for me. I did experience a worsening of symptoms after each one but that was expected. I was able to come home the same day as my procedures and was back to work soon after. Within a month or so after my last treatment I began to really notice the difference. I am 2 years out from BT now and I feel fantastic! I've had no ER visits since BT and my quality of life has improved tremendously. 

The biggest impact is that my asthma is no longer a constant worry for me. If there is something I want to do, I just go out and do it. I still have asthma, and always have my inhaler with me, but I don't worry anymore. 

I do so many things I was scared to do before BT. I've started running. Last summer, my pulmonologist, my respiratory therapist, and I all ran a 5K together and the local news did a story on me and my success with BT. We are planning to run another race this summer. 

It's interesting because I think a lot of severe asthmatics like me don't notice how bad our asthma really has gotten. We adapt to our environment little by little. It becomes our day-to-day and we are not fully conscious of just how limiting our asthma makes our lives.

BT was a life-changer for me because I thought that my life was going to revolve around my asthma forever. I lived in fear of it. Now I am having a much bigger life because I don't make decisions based on that fear anymore.

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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