For the millions of Americans who suffer from asthma, there is a new treatment that may help make breathing easier.
A new FDA approved treatment called Bronchial Thermoplasty is helping patients respond better to oral medications and inhalers. Doctors put a tiny catheter down a patient’s breathing tubes to melt away the muscles that can tighten during an asthma attack.
Dr. David Duhamel, Director of Pulmonary Procedures at Virginia Hospital Center, says it’s not a cure for asthma.
“These patients will still have a diagnosis of asthma. What we’re hoping to do is bring them down a notch,” Duhamel said.
The treatment isn’t for people with mild to moderate asthma. It’s meant for people whose attacks are so severe that they make regular visits to the hospital and need to use inhalers constantly.
Tony Cook fit that description. He said that until recently, his asthma was so severe that he couldn’t workout. Since the treatment, he now runs regularly.
“Right after the procedure, I felt that coil loosen. To me, it was amazing,” he said.
Cook felt better immediately, but the typical experience is that the asthma temporarily worsens. A few days after treatment is when patients should expect to see improvement.
The procedure is so new that many insurance companies are not covering it at this time. Prospective patients should check with their insurance provider.
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