Thursday, October 26, 2006
Medical Reports: Eliminating Asthma
For many asthmatics, medicine and inhalers only allow for a limited improvement in their lives. But now, a new procedure is offering a breath of fresh air. 7's Diana Diaz has more on Elimintaing Asthma.
WSVN -- It's safe to say getting the most out of life takes Carol Burke's breath away. You see, Carol has lived with severe asthma ever since she was six months old.
Carol Burke: "I didn't ride a bike until I was 12. I never learned how to swim."
Now, all these years later, she's still gasping for air.
In fact, it's gotten so bad that Carol recently moved from a house to a one-floor condo because it's easier to get around.
She even bought new furniture to keep her home dust-free.
Carol Burke: "Because of my asthma, my life has been restricted to a certain extent."
Which is why, like most asthmatics, Carol takes a variety of medication.
But researchers have developed a new procedure called broncial thermoplasty. It works by inserting a tube in the lungs through the nose or mouth and then releasing a wire basket which delivers a burst of heat.
In turn, doctors found the heat destroys the airway muscle responsible for contracting and causing an attack.
Dr. Ali I. Musani, pulmonologist:"This is the first ever non-pharmacological approach. By non-pharmacological, I mean no medicines are involved."
There's also no incision and no anesthesia.
But there are side effects including chest tightness for a day after the treatment.
Dr. Musani: "It's a procedure that would assist in less medication, probably the ability to do more things physically."
Carol notices a difference.
She was part of the first clinical trial, and already she can do more while breathing better.
Doctors say it takes about three treatments before patients feel relief.
Each procedure takes about one hour.
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University of Pennslvania