Check Your Health: Surgery Option for Severe Asthma

Surgery Option for Severe Asthma

(KUTV) Wheezing, mucus in the airways, and tightness of the chest are all symptoms of asthma.

“The end result is you have a hard time breathing. Some people can’t run or do the sports they want to do, others are severely debilitated,” says Dr. Kevin Shilling, Director of the LDS Hospital Pulmonary Clinic.

For some people, asthma is a minor nuisance; for others, it can be a major problem that frequently interferes with daily activities.

“Mild asthma: you might get some symptoms when you’re running or occasionally - once a week, once a month. Severe asthma: that’s something where you’re going to have it often during the day. You have a hard time breathing and then you particularly have it at night,” says Dr. Shilling.

Managing asthma usually includes using inhalers. There different types of inhalers with different mechanisms so it’s important to take inhalers as prescribed.

If your environment is controlled and multiple inhalers have not worked, then a surgery called bronchial thermoplasty might be an option if doctors are certain your symptoms are indeed from asthma.

Bronchial thermoplasty works by using a catheter to heat up the airways. This destroys part of the smooth muscle that constricts during an asthma attack.

“We do three total procedures. We do one part of the lung and then another part of the lung and they’re done three weeks apart,” explains Dr. Shilling.

This procedure doesn’t get rid of asthma, but along with inhalers, can make it manageable.

“In a lot of people it really improves their symptoms. Not everyone, but a lot of them,” says Dr. Shilling.

To be considered for bronchial thermoplasty treatment you should:

  • Be between 18-65 years old
  • Be a non-smoker for at least the past year
  • Have severe or persistent asthma not well controlled by inhaled corticosteroids or long-acting bronchodilator medications

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