Friday, October 16, 2009
Medical Reports: Heating Up Asthma
Millions of Americans suffer from asthma. For some, it's so bad they can never be far from their inhaler and often end up in the hospital, but a new treatment has some people breathing easier. Seven's Christine Cruz has the story in tonight's Healthcast.
WSVN -- Mike and Jenny Mcleland couldn't get through the day without using their asthma inhalers.
Mike McLeland: "At least once a month was bad enough to go to the emergency room, but I'd have asthma attacks two or three times a day. I was using my inhaler constantly."
Jenny worried day and night about the next attack.
Jenny McLeland: "It doesn't matter how many asthma attacks I've had in my lifetime, I still start to feel kind of panicky. What if I can't get to my inhaler in time? What if I can't get help in time?"
The couple became one of the first to test a new treatment called Bronchial Thermoplasty. It uses heat to alleviate asthma. Here's how it works: Doctors send a catheter into the lungs where wires deliver radiofrequency energy to the constricted muscles around the windpipe.
Dr. Mario Castro: "This is a permanent treatment where we actually alter the smooth muscle. We decrease the muscle that's surrounding the windpipe, so it's a much more long-lasting treatment and effective treatment for these patients."
One study showed more than a third of patients have less severe asthma after the treatment. Jenny's cut her asthma meds in half and mike doesn't need his at all!
"Not using my inhalers. I'm off my steroid inhaler. I haven't used my Provental for the last three months."
Now, Mike and Jenny are enjoying something they never thought they could have, an active lifestyle that gets better with every stride.
CHRISTINE CRUZ: "The FDA is currently testing the treatment around the country. It is meant for patients with severe asthma that's not helped by medication."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
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Washington University School of Medicine
St. Louis, MO
Tel: (314) 286-0105