Offering Hope for Severe, Persistent Asthma

Pulmonary specialists in Surgery Services are performing cutting-edge procedures that are helping patients with complicated breathing problems.

St.Vincent Anderson Regional is one of only a few hospitals in Indiana performing bronchial thermoplasty, a minimally invasive procedure for severe persistent asthma.

For information or referral, please call 642-3301.

Dr. David Mares explained that bronchial thermoplasty does not cure asthma, but it can reduce severe asthma symptoms in patients 18 years or older who are not well controlled with standard asthma medications.

"Some people on aggressive asthma medication may begin to have side effects that affect their health and quality of life. These include weight gain or worsening diabetes," Dr. Mares said.

Bronchial thermoplasty involves a bronchoscope and a specialized probe that heats the muscles around the bronchial tubes. The applied heat decreases the muscles' ability to squeeze and tighten the airway. The bronchoscopic procedure is performed in three visits, each treating a different area of the lungs and scheduled approximately three weeks apart.

"Bronchial thermoplasty has been shown to improve asthma control and symptoms that may affect quality of life, including decreased severe asthma attacks, reduced ER visits and hospitalization for respiratory symptoms and fewer days lost from work, school and other daily activities due to asthma," Dr. Mares said.

The hospital Foundation provided the funds needed to purchase the specialized thermoplasty equipment for the Surgery Department.