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. rv restoration

    I’m impressed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is something which not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy I came across this during my search for something concerning this.


    May 27, 2021 at 06:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. toy hauler upgrades


    May 27, 2021 at 06:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Vita Scolnik

    Pretty! This has been an incredibly wonderful post. Thanks for supplying these details.


    May 27, 2021 at 06:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Flooring California

    There's definately a great deal to know about this issue. I love all the points you've made.


    May 27, 2021 at 08:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. rv painters


    May 27, 2021 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Mechanics Orange County

    Hi there! This post couldn’t be written much better! Going through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept talking about this. I'll send this article to him. Pretty sure he'll have a great read. Thank you for sharing!


    May 27, 2021 at 12:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RV Supplies Los Angeles


    May 27, 2021 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. RV Frame Orange County


    May 27, 2021 at 14:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Internet Marketing Businesses

    This page definitely has all the info I wanted concerning this subject and didnít know who to ask.


    May 27, 2021 at 15:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Forklift Cylinders California


    May 27, 2021 at 17:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. repair rv door

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It's always interesting to read through articles from other writers and use a little something from their sites.


    May 27, 2021 at 18:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Content Marketing Agency Near Me

    Great site you've got here.. Itís hard to find excellent writing like yours these days. I truly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!


    May 27, 2021 at 20:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RV Restoration Riverside

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who has been conducting a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered me breakfast due to the fact that I found it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to discuss this topic here on your blog.


    May 27, 2021 at 20:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. rv shower upgrade

    This is a topic that is close to my heart... Take care! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    May 28, 2021 at 00:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. rv furniture outlet store near me

    Excellent article! We will be linking to this great content on our website. Keep up the great writing.


    May 28, 2021 at 01:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Video Marketing Specialist


    May 28, 2021 at 02:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. remodel motorhome interior

    Hello! I simply want to offer you a huge thumbs up for your great info you have got right here on this post. I will be returning to your web site for more soon.


    May 28, 2021 at 03:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. solar installation orange county

    bookmarked!!, I love your website!


    May 28, 2021 at 05:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. refrigerators orange county


    May 28, 2021 at 06:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RV Refrigerator Near Me


    May 28, 2021 at 10:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RV Flooring Near Me


    May 28, 2021 at 11:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. camper mechanics near me


    May 28, 2021 at 12:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. RV Bedroom Orange County


    May 28, 2021 at 13:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. RV Body Shop California

    Your style is so unique compared to other people I've read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I'll just book mark this page.


    May 28, 2021 at 14:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Wraps Riverside

    After exploring a number of the blog posts on your web page, I really appreciate your way of blogging. I book-marked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Take a look at my web site as well and let me know how you feel.


    May 28, 2021 at 19:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. orange skye body and beauty bar

    Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve visited this web site before but after browsing through some of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m certainly pleased I discovered it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back often!


    May 28, 2021 at 19:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. rv camper repair near me


    May 29, 2021 at 00:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. appliance store orange county ca

    Great web site you've got here.. It’s hard to find high quality writing like yours these days. I honestly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!


    May 29, 2021 at 00:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. horse trailer window replacement


    May 29, 2021 at 01:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Semi Truck Mechanic Shop Near Me


    May 29, 2021 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Video Marketing Agency

    This is a topic which is near to my heart... Cheers! Where are your contact details though?


    May 29, 2021 at 13:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Kenworth Truck Repair Shop

    Next time I read a blog, I hope that it won't disappoint me just as much as this one. After all, I know it was my choice to read through, nonetheless I actually believed you would probably have something useful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you could fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.


    May 30, 2021 at 00:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Digital Marketing Consultant Near Me

    Everything is very open with a precise explanation of the challenges. It was really informative. Your website is very useful. Thank you for sharing!


    May 30, 2021 at 05:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Google Marketing Experts


    May 30, 2021 at 07:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Truck Repair Shop


    May 30, 2021 at 09:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Digital Marketing Service

    I was pretty pleased to uncover this website. I wanted to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely liked every bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new things in your site.


    May 30, 2021 at 11:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Rv Maintenance


    May 30, 2021 at 12:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Electrical Repair Near Me

    I truly love your site.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you develop this web site yourself? Please reply back as I’m wanting to create my own personal blog and would like to know where you got this from or what the theme is called. Appreciate it!


    May 31, 2021 at 03:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RV Chassis Repair Near Me

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


    May 31, 2021 at 04:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Mercedes Sprinter Repair Panels

    Very good article! We will be linking to this particularly great article on our website. Keep up the good writing.


    May 31, 2021 at 08:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. RV Repair Shops Near Me


    May 31, 2021 at 18:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Sprinter Turbocharger Repair


    May 31, 2021 at 23:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Dodge Van Frame Repair Kit

    After I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment is added I receive 4 emails with the same comment. Is there a way you can remove me from that service? Many thanks!


    June 1, 2021 at 07:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Utility Van Repair


    June 1, 2021 at 09:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Extended Van Repair Shop Near Me

    Hello! I just wish to give you a huge thumbs up for the excellent info you've got right here on this post. I'll be returning to your website for more soon.


    June 1, 2021 at 15:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Ernesto Ardery


    June 1, 2021 at 17:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Sprinter Van Technician


    June 2, 2021 at 05:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Shalonda Hightower


    June 2, 2021 at 05:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Custom Paint Shop


    June 2, 2021 at 10:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. rv repair san diego

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your website!


    June 2, 2021 at 11:53 | 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.