Nurse, Mom, and Grandma who loves knitting, reading, and camping!
My Life Prior to BT:
I was first diagnosed with severe asthma when I was 20 years old and it kept gradually getting worse. I think because I was young and a medical person I tried to treat it over the counter, but after the first ER visit I knew I needed more help with this.
Over the years, we tried all the medications. I used albuterol, Flovent™, prednisone bursts, and many different inhalers. I remember when the FDA took inhalers with CFCs off the market, and I had to be switched to ProAir™. That did not work for me and I complained. I needed nebulizer treatments weekly and even more when the asthma was really flaring up. Sometimes I would go along for a while and be pretty good, but then a big exacerbation would happen and I would have to increase the amount of medications again. I convinced the doctor I needed two albuterol inhalers. One for work and one for home. Well, I would always go through them both!
I was never hospitalized, but I did go to the ER about 5 times over the years. My triggers were stress, hurrying, cleaning fumes, fires, and any kind of exercise. I purposely did not do things that required too much exertion. I remember I volunteered at the library to clean up after a fire and all those cleaning materials and fumes caused a bad attack. Another time I was cleaning the tub and had an attack requiring that we call the ambulance. We live in a small town with just a volunteer fire department. We had just moved, so I was worried they wouldn’t be able to find me at our new house, but they did thank goodness.
It impacted my life though in many ways. We are big campers and I had to be careful if we were camping because the fires would really bother me. I couldn’t go to my sister’s in the winter because she used a wood burning fireplace for heat. I also had issues sleeping. Many nights I would wake up wheezing and coughing. I know I kept my poor husband up at times. I always had to sleep with 3 pillows and sometimes I would sleep in a chair. And then of course you are exhausted because you are not sleeping well.
When I first heard about the procedure I was immediately interested. My biggest concern was that I had just started a new job. I was worried about having to take time off but then I thought “what good will I be at this job if I can’t breathe well!” I was one of the early BT patients.
My Life Today:
The procedure went well for me. I did feel a bit “draggy” from the anesthesia but I went home the same day and was back to work the next day.
The benefits for me have been pretty amazing. The wheezing went away. My day no longer revolves around managing my severe asthma. Since BT I’ve had no visits to the ER either.
There are just so many things that I do now that would have made me huff and puff before BT. One big example is that we went to the Indy car races in Newtown, Iowa. Our seats were very high up in a big arena. I was able to climb up all those steps to my seat without having an issue.
I just lead my life now. I don’t worry about my activity level anymore. I don’t worry about walking and climbing stairs. I am not up coughing all night anymore. These are simple things but before BT those simple things were very hard for me.
We are avid campers and the bonfires don’t bother me anymore. My husband is a big car race fanatic and we take our camper to Knoxville which is about two hours away to see the races. We go almost every weekend now and I don’t worry about my asthma at all.
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.