Valerie

 

Age: 71

Hometown: Westcester, IL

BT Doctor: Dr. Sara Greenhill

Referring Doctor: Dr. Diane Ozog, Allergist-Immunologist

Insurance: Medicare

BT Procedure Date: Spring 2016

Valerie

Mom and Grandma who works full time at an animal hospital

"I don’t know how much longer I could have gone on with the severe attacks. For me BT was the difference between surviving and really living!"

My Life Prior to BT:

I developed severe asthma at age 55 from the exposure to the cosmetology chemicals I worked with as a hair stylist. It was pretty bad when I was first diagnosed but grew much worse over time. My triggers were mostly things in the air like perfumes, cleaning products, aerosol sprays, mold spores, and of course the hair chemicals I used at work. I had to leave my career as hair stylist because of my severe asthma.

My severe asthma affected more than just my job. I had trouble sleeping because of my severe asthma and had to take a sleep aid. I missed work because any little infection or cold would cause an asthma flare up. I wasn’t able to be outside much because the cold, the heat, and the wind would cause asthma-related issues for me. I had to watch the air quality all the time. I like to go out walking but it was tough. Struggling to breathe didn’t leave me with much energy for anything else.

Travelling would also create issues with my severe asthma. I love to visit my daughter and grandkids in Denver. I try to go twice a year but there were times I could not because the doctors didn’t want me to fly. I love being out there with them and it was always disappointing when I had to cancel a trip.

I was on Advair™, Singulair™, DuoNeb™, budesonide, and nebulizers. I could not use Advair DISKUS™ because of the powder. Nebulizers worked better because they did not have the powder or aerosol effect like the inhalers. I was using nebs 4-5 times a day and still had a few trips to the emergency room for my severe asthma.

In the years leading up to BT, the medicines did not keep the severe asthma under control very well and I ended up taking a lot of prednisone. My quality of my life was diminishing from all of the side effects. That’s when my long-time allergist mentioned BT and connected me with Dr. Greenhill. 

I was lucky that I didn’t have any issues with insurance. They just required some testing to show that I truly needed this procedure and once they had those results it was covered. I would say it was approved within weeks.

My Life Today

I did not hesitate for a moment to have BT. My quality of life was going downhill and asthma was the main focus of my day. When I heard about this new option, I was like “sign me up.”

I had my first procedure on my son’s birthday. All went well and I was home the same day for all three procedures. I did get bronchitis after the 2nd and 3rd procedures but did not have any asthma attacks with that, and only needed a course of antibiotics after the 3rd and final procedure. I went in thinking this will be a piece of cake, but folks should know that you can have issues after and you may need more time off of work, etc. But don’t get me wrong, I WOULD DO IT AGAIN IN A HEARTBEAT!

It’s been about a year and the difference in my asthma-related quality of life since BT is remarkable. Before I barely had a voice. Now I can talk without gasping and the wheeziness is completely gone. If I have a cold or sinus infection it doesn’t turn into a trip to the ER trip or require bursts of steroids anymore! 

I was visiting with my daughter about 3 months after BT and we went to Breckenridge which has an altitude of 9600 feet. I was walking all around with my daughter and she was like “wow, I can see a big difference in how you’re doing.” Even the folks at work notice a difference. We are on our feet and moving all day at the animal hospital and no matter how busy we get, no more wheezing for me!

I would say severe asthma doesn’t run my day anymore. I can walk so easily now. I do about 5-6K steps at work alone. Then I finish up the rest of the steps to my goal of 10K when I get home, on most days. Travelling is much easier too. I don’t have to plan my trips to Denver to see the grandkids around how my asthma is doing. I just pick my dates and go.

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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