A breakthrough treatment for severe asthma

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Bronchial thermoplasty, the first FDA-approved procedure for severe asthma, is a breakthrough treatment.

Yale-New Haven Hospital is the only one in the state that offers the outpatient procedure. Patient Joanne Raymunt is about to undergo the third stage of the treatment in three months.

“It’s my last one. Hopefully, this will work,” said Raymunt, whose childhood asthma worsened after her first pregnancy. “It really got really bad. My daughter was three months old and I was blue on the table.”

Standard treatment didn’t help Raymunt. Bronchial thermoplasty has already proven to improve symptoms and decrease medication needs of patients.

Dr. Geoff Chupp is the director of the Asthma Center at Yale-New Haven.

“They can expect to see improvement in their daily symptoms, a reduction in their medication requirements and less of a need for hospitalizations and fewer severe attacks,” Chupp said.

Here’s how it’s done: An endoscope with a catheter, is used to heat up the airways. Chupp pointed to the monitor while the procedure was underway,

“You don’t really see much, right? But there’s actually heat going into the airways — 65 degrees centigrade. It’s a like a cup of coffee basically.”

Dr. Gaetane Michaud, who specializes in interventional bronchoscopy, is focusing on the upper lobes of Raymunt’s lungs.

Said Chupp, “We gently heat up the airways, by doing that we damage the smooth muscle around the airways that is causing the bronchospasm that contributes to asthma attacks.”

In total, 85 hits and in time Chupp says there will be less smooth muscle. Already, Raymunt is benefiting after the first two stages, which targeted her lower lobes.

“I didn’t take any prednisone and I didn’t take any inhalers so that’s a plus.” she said.

Chupp said that early indications are repeating the process is unlikely for Joanne. The procedure took about an hour. Raymunt was in the recovery room for four hours and will be monitored closely in the next few days.

Chupp adds that patients can expect some asthma flare-ups which will be treated and in time will eventually subside. Medicare covers it and so does some insurance companies.

For more information, go to http://www.asthma.yale.edu.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s