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Thursday, November 20, 2014

New procedure takes aim at knocking the wind out of severe asthma

Franciscan St. Francis Health offers breakthrough treatment option for patients

INDIANAPOLIS – Imagine trying to breathe through a straw, struggling and gasping day in and day out. That’s how many patients feel who suffer from severe asthma.
Franciscan St. Francis Health now offers these patients new hope for better control of their asthma.

It’s called Bronchial Thermoplasty, an outpatient procedure approved for the treatment of severe asthma in patients 18 years and older whose condition is not well controlled with inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting bronchodilators.

Bronchial Thermoplasty can be life-changing for patients, dramatically improving their quality of life,” said Faisal Khan, MD, interventional pulmonologist at Franciscan St. Francis. 
It can help reduce the frequency of asthma attacks, emergency room visits and hospitalizations and days missed from work due to symptoms of asthma.”

Asthma, a chronic lung disease with no cure, commonly causes recurring periods of wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and coughing. When triggered, severe asthma causes the airways in the lungs to narrow, leading to the onset of an asthma attack.

This new approach is performed using bronchoscopy, a minimally invasive procedure in which a bronchoscope is inserted into the airways through the mouth. The procedure uses a catheter-like device to deliver thermal energy (heat) to the airway wall in order to reduce excessive airway smooth muscle. This decreases the constriction of the airways and reduces the frequency and severity of asthma attacks.
“This procedure is unique because for the first time severe asthma can be treated in a physical way, attacking the problem at its source – the lungs,” said Dr. Khan. "Currently patients with severe, persistent asthma are treated using high doses of medication and many still continue to suffer from frequent asthma attacks."
Bronchial Thermoplasty is performed in three outpatient visits, which are typically scheduled at least three weeks apart. While not a cure for asthma, it works with asthma maintenance medications to provide long-lasting asthma control and improved asthma-related quality of life.