PhD, Program Director, Father, and Proud Grandpa
"I am spending less on my asthma control for sure. I would encourage insurance companies to look at the numbers because I know I am definitely costing them less now!"
My Life Prior to BT:
I was diagnosed with asthma when I was just one year old. My asthma was terrible as a child then improved a bit as a teenager when we moved to Guam and Hawaii. As I grew older it became worse though and I have basically lived with chronic asthma for all of my adulthood.
Over the years we tried so many medications to try and get my asthma to a place where it was controlled. We tried Xolair™, Singulair™, Qvar™, Advair 550™, Flonase™, Allegra™, Prolair™, albuterol, and of course prednisone. I used my rescue inhalers 8-12 times a day and required nebulizer treatments about every 3 weeks.
I was a very sick child. I was hospitalized often as a child. I missed school and had to live in as clean of an environment as possible. I slept on plastic, never had rugs or curtains, and definitely couldn’t participate in sports and do many of the normal things kids do.
As an adult I tried really hard to stay ahead of my attacks to avoid the ER, but still needed a trip there every 10 months or so. In the years leading up to BT I was hospitalized a few times.
One of the worst parts of asthma is dealing with all of the side effects from the medication. I took a lot of prednisone and really suffered for it. My side effects included adrenal failure which caused terrible pain and fatigue, and of course weight gain.
Once I decided to move forward with BT, it took a while to get the insurance coverage for it. I went through several rounds of appeals with United Health Care, including rounds where my doctors sent letters on my behalf. The final option was to take it to medical arbitration. I figured I had nothing to lose, though my expectations weren’t too high after being denied so many times already. Well the arbitrator ruled on my behalf in October of 2012! I started my BT procedures just a few weeks later.
My Life Today:
My procedures went so smoothly. I did experience a worsening of symptoms after the first treatment, but that was expected. I can tell you, I would do it again in a heartbeat!
The impact BT had for me is quite dramatic. I have overall better asthma control. But the real impact is even bigger than that. Having struggled my whole life, almost daily, with asthma, to finally be living a life that is not centered on my asthma control is amazing.
The quality of my life is so much better. I have more clarity and energy.
Traveling is so much easier now too. Last year alone I visited Islamabad, Bangkok, Seoul, and Riyadh. There was smog, heat, and dust to deal with in those places but I had no issues with my asthma. I also enjoy hiking, fishing, and hunting.
I am getting ready to travel to Nicaragua for a vacation and I am not worried 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.