Revolutionary procedure offers hope for patients with severe asthma

  • Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Severe asthma impacts up to 2.5 million Americans. For many, that means staying on the sidelines, not only when it comes to athletics, but also many other parts of life.

People with severe asthma must take extra care to avoid their allergic triggers, which can include pets, pollens and dust. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that asthma leads to roughly 1.75 million emergency room visits, 456,000 hospitalizations and 3,447 deaths annually.

Now, Trident Health and Lowcountry Lung and Critical Care offer a revolutionary procedure to treat severe asthma in adult patients 18 years and older.

Bronchial thermoplasty (BT) uses mild heat to reduce the amount of excess smooth muscle tissue in airways. A five-year clinical study of BT patients shows a 44 percent decrease in asthma attacks and an 84 percent reduction in emergency room visits. The group also had 66 percent fewer asthma-related days lost from work, school and other activities.

Dr. John M. Rucker of Lowcountry Lung and Critical Care in North Charleston treats many patients with severe asthma and understands their struggles and limitations. “They become prisoners to their disease.”

On Wednesday, May 21 at 11:30 a.m., Dr. Rucker will host a free healthy conversation on BT at Trident Medical Center. For your free registration, please call 843-797-3463.

“For the right patient, the change in lifestyle can be amazing,” Dr. Rucker says. BT, as delivered through Boston Scientific’s Alair™ System, can be done through a series of three outpatient visits at Trident Medical Center, spaced out over the course of a month and a half. The American College of Chest Physicians now recommends that all public and private insurers provide coverage and payment for BT for those adult patients with severe persistent, poorly-controlled asthma who continue to experience asthma exacerbations, emergency department visits and hospitalizations despite maximal medical treatment.

Doing so will provide physicians and patients with a safe and effective treatment option and allow the medical and payer community to develop utilization and outcomes data in their own populations.

Trident Health is an HCA hospital system comprised of two acute care hospitals – Trident Medical Center and Summerville Medical Center – as well as Moncks Corner Medical Center. Visit www.tridenthealthsystem.com.

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