SSM Health Medical Minute: New option for asthmatics

ST. LOUIS - A new option for people suffering with severe asthma is being offered at SSM Health SLU Hospital that is giving patients a breath of fresh air. It’s called Bronchial Thermoplasty, a revolutionary and long-lasting relief for asthma patients.

Dr. David Stoeckel, SLUCare pulmonologist at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital, is offering this procedure.

An estimated 25 million people in the U.S. suffer from asthma - a respiratory disease that causes the airways in the lungs to narrow and makes it difficult to breathe. For some, this condition can significantly impact their quality of life and, in some cases, can be life threatening. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), asthma accounts for approximately 44,000 asthma attacks, 4,700 emergency room visits, 1,200 hospitalizations and 9 deaths every day in the U.S.1

Bronchial Thermoplasty (BT) delivered by the Alair™ System is not a medication - it is a safe outpatient procedure that uses mild heat to actually reduce the amount of excess airway smooth muscle tissue in the airways. Less muscle tissue means less airway constriction during an asthma attack. Patients can breathe more easily—and are less likely to have an asthma attack.

Unlike daily asthma medications, BT continues to work for years. BT is an add-on therapy to a patient’s current asthma medications, providing long-lasting benefits for patients, including a decrease in asthma attacks, fewer emergency room visits and improved asthma-related quality of life.

In a clinical study of patients with severe asthma, 79% of patients treated with Bronchial Thermoplasty (BT) saw a significant improvement in their asthma-related quality of life. In addition, patients treated with BT experienced:

• 32% fewer severe asthma attacks
• 84% fewer asthma-related emergency room visits
• 66% fewer days lost from work, school, and daily activities due to asthma symptoms

The SSM Health Medical Minute airs every Thursday at 7 PM on KPLR News 11 and at 9 PM on KTVI Fox 2 News.​