March 2nd, 2010
11:50 AM ET

Asthma advances

By Saundra Young
CNN Medical Senior Producer

23 million Americans, 7 million of those children, struggle with asthma.  The statistics are sobering.  Every day in the United States, 30,000 people have an asthma attack. 40,000 miss school or work because of the disease, emergency rooms see 5,000 asthma patients; 1,000 of those will actually be admitted to the hospital and 11 people will die.  Every day.  It's one of the country's most common, and most costly diseases.

During an asthma attack the smooth muscle around your trachea, or windpipe, constricts, squeezing down and causing shortness of breath and chest tightness.  There is no cure for this chronic disease, and for those who suffer with severe, persistent, debilitating asthma, quality of life can be downright miserable.  Treatment has been limited to medications that are often short lived and can potentially have side effects.

But according to Dr. Mario Castro, a pulmonologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri,  a breakthrough is close at hand.  Castro led a clinical trial testing the first ever non-drug treatment for severe asthma.  It's called bronchial thermoplasty and he contends that it actually prevents attacks (watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta's report here).

"What bronchial thermoplasty does is it allows us to go down into your windpipes, into your bronchial tubes and deliver a very controlled energy, a controlled heat to the lining of your windpipe," Castro said, "What it results in is that the muscle, the smooth muscle around your windpipe is decreased in the amount and size."

There are three treatments, three weeks apart and no overnight hospital stay.  Nearly 300 patients participated in the largest trial of it's kind here in the United States.  Those who actually got the treatment logged 84 percent fewer visits to the emergency room than the patients who didn't. 

Jenny and Michael McLeland, severe asthma sufferers their entire lives, were both got the thermoplasty.

Both of us experienced a huge change in our asthma symptoms." Jenny said. "The summer following our treatments we did RAGBRAI, which is a weeklong bike ride up in Iowa.  So it involved biking about 550 miles and camping over an entire weekend.  Prior to the treatment I couldn't sleep outside. I couldn't sit in the grass without getting wheezy.  So to be able to make it through an entire week with no problems was just phenomenal."

 Two and a half years after the treatment, Jenny hasn't had to make a single visit to the ER.  And Michael says he can't put a price on his new-found quality of life.

"I feel like I'm 18, 19 years old and doing anything, it feels like I can do anything I want to now.  I've done things that I didn't think I would be able to do. The quality of life– the expenses I don't have to worry about anymore, just kind of the emergency room costs and the physician costs and the medication was expensive."

Dr. Norman Edelman, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association, says anything new that will help these patients is an important advance.

"It's a new concept. Nobody up until now has thought of dealing with asthma by changing the anatomy of the lung.'  But Edelman cautions there is a downside.  "It's a complex procedure.  Local physicians who treat asthma will not be ready to use the technique."

An FDA advisory committee has already recommended approval on several conditions—such as doctors getting the proper training and requiring that the procedure be performed only at a facility with full resuscitation equipment.  The FDA is still  considering the recommendation.

So, if you're on the highest dose of your asthma medication and feeling like there's no where else to go, help could be just around the corner.

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.

soundoff (751 Responses)
  1. instagram

    Iamm actually thankful to thee owner of this web page who has shared this great post
    at at this time.

    May 12, 2021 at 10:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. RV Sound System California


    May 12, 2021 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. american leak detection orange county


    May 12, 2021 at 14:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Repair Sprinter Freightliner

    Howdy! I simply want to offer you a huge thumbs up for your great information you have here on this post. I'll be returning to your website for more soon.


    May 12, 2021 at 15:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Channel

    These are in fact enormous ideas in concerning blogging. You have touched some fastidious factors here.
    Any way keep up wrinting.

    May 12, 2021 at 16:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Sprinter Fuel Filler Pipe Repair


    May 12, 2021 at 19:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. camper mechanics near me

    Pretty! This has been a really wonderful post. Many thanks for providing this info.


    May 13, 2021 at 07:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Repair

    A fascinating discussion is worth comment. I think that you ought to write more on this subject, it may not be a taboo matter but typically people don't speak about these subjects. To the next! Best wishes!!


    May 13, 2021 at 07:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Sound System Near Me


    May 13, 2021 at 07:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. stornobrzinol

    he blog was how do i say it… relevant, finally something that helped me. Thanks


    May 13, 2021 at 08:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Best Tucker Sprinter Repair


    May 13, 2021 at 08:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. RV Beds Orange County


    May 13, 2021 at 09:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. rv inspection near me


    May 13, 2021 at 10:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. storno brzinol

    he blog was how do i say it… relevant, finally something that helped me. Thanks


    May 13, 2021 at 11:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. rv plumbing parts near me


    May 13, 2021 at 14:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Celebs

    My partner and I absolutely love your blog
    and find many of your post's to be exactly what I'm looking for.
    Does one offer guest writers to write content for you?
    I wouldn't mind producing a post or elaborating onn a number off the subjects yyou write in relation to here.
    Again, awesome web log!

    May 13, 2021 at 16:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. RV Interior Designer Riverside

    Very good post. I am dealing with a few of these issues as well..


    May 13, 2021 at 18:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. upholstery orange county


    May 13, 2021 at 20:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. furniture repair shop near me

    There's definately a lot to know about this topic. I love all the points you've made.


    May 13, 2021 at 21:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. solar installation orange county

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this article! It is the little changes that make the largest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!


    May 13, 2021 at 23:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. windshield replacement lake forest

    Great post. I will be going through some of these issues as well..


    May 14, 2021 at 00:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. prostar collision


    May 14, 2021 at 01:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. RV Shower Riverside


    May 14, 2021 at 02:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. rv renovation companies near me

    Right here is the right site for everyone who hopes to find out about this topic. You understand so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually would want to…HaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a subject that's been discussed for a long time. Excellent stuff, just wonderful!


    May 14, 2021 at 04:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. orange county rv repair

    Spot on with this write-up, I seriously think this website needs a great deal more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the information!


    May 14, 2021 at 04:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. RV Remodeling California

    You should take part in a contest for one of the best websites on the internet. I'm going to recommend this web site!


    May 14, 2021 at 09:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Maserati Lease Deals


    May 14, 2021 at 16:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Maserati Gt 2017

    This web site certainly has all of the info I wanted about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    May 14, 2021 at 17:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Maserati Suv Lease


    May 15, 2021 at 00:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Walk In Eye Exam Near Me


    May 15, 2021 at 00:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. four bedroom homes for sale near me


    May 15, 2021 at 00:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Eye Care Near Me

    Can I simply just say what a comfort to discover someone that really knows what they are discussing on the internet. You actually understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people ought to check this out and understand this side of your story. It's surprising you aren't more popular since you definitely possess the gift.


    May 15, 2021 at 01:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Optometry Near Me


    May 15, 2021 at 02:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. 2009 Maserati Quattroporte For Sale

    Everything is very open with a clear description of the challenges. It was definitely informative. Your website is useful. Many thanks for sharing!


    May 15, 2021 at 07:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. homes for sale post falls id

    Saved as a favorite, I like your blog!


    May 15, 2021 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Eye Doctor Near Me


    May 15, 2021 at 14:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Seo Marketing Business


    May 16, 2021 at 00:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Digital Marketing Events Near Me

    Good write-up. I absolutely appreciate this site. Keep it up!


    May 16, 2021 at 00:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Golden Visa Program

    I'm gone to say to my little brother, that he should
    also pay a quick visit this blog on regular basis to get updated from newest news.

    May 16, 2021 at 03:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Social Media Marketing Companies Cypress


    May 16, 2021 at 06:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. article

    We'rea group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community.
    Yourr web site offered us with valuable info
    to work on. You have dne a formidable job and our whole communiity will be thankful to you.

    May 16, 2021 at 07:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. aitan arena aika private server


    May 16, 2021 at 10:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Sprinter Van Rooftop A/C Leak Repair


    May 16, 2021 at 10:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Apps For Business

    But unlike other SEO companies London or elsewhere, we forge long
    term partnerships for long-lasting success.
    There is absolutely no point in finding one of the
    great London Accountants only to find that they are actually too far away from your place of business to be accessible.
    Taking a look at other company's websites within a particular niche field can clue you in to
    what's being actively searched for, and what's not.

    Here is my web page: Apps For Business

    May 16, 2021 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Sprinter Van Ecu Repair

    Spot on with this write-up, I absolutely believe that this website needs a great deal more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the advice!


    May 16, 2021 at 13:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Sprinter Van Repair In Huntington Beach

    Hello there! This post could not be written any better! Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept preaching about this. I'll send this post to him. Fairly certain he'll have a good read. I appreciate you for sharing!


    May 16, 2021 at 15:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Conversion Van Repair Near Me

    Aw, this was an extremely good post. Taking the time and actual effort to create a superb article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and don't seem to get anything done.


    May 16, 2021 at 18:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Sprinter Van Hard To Repair Van

    Wonderful post! We will be linking to this great article on our site. Keep up the good writing.


    May 16, 2021 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Maserati Price 2010

    When I originally left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the same comment. Perhaps there is a means you can remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!


    May 16, 2021 at 19:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Maserati Ghibli Used Dealer Near Me

    Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular article! It's the little changes which will make the greatest changes. Thanks for sharing!


    May 16, 2021 at 20:23 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Leave a Reply to Digital Marketing Consultants


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.