There's a breakthrough treatment for severe asthma sufferers. Bronchial Thermoplasty is the first FDA approved procedure for severe asthma. Orlando Health was the first hospital in Central Florida to offer the outpatient procedure.
A day outside means potential problems for Doug Dillon. The self-published author loves to write his books on his patio or walk to clear his head. However, his asthma made it difficult. He was diagnosed when he was 10 years old."I'm 71," said Dillon. "I've been dealing with Asthma for 60 years."
Doctors said Dillon's lung capacity recently dropped to 35-percent. The average is 80."Then I would have one or two or three attacks a year," said Dillon. "My doctor, this year, finally said, you've got to do something."
Dillon's doctor referred him to Dr. Mark Vollenwieder at Orlando Health. Dr. Vollenwieder said candidates who will see the best results have a history of asthma and no real way to control it."They're still being short of breath," said Dr. Vollenwieder. "They're still missing days at work, days at school."
Manufacturer Boston Scientific said an endoscope with a catheter is pushed through the bronchial tubes.It gently heats up the airways. Over time, it'll reduce the amount of excess smooth muscle, meaning more room for air to flow through.
"It's great," said Dr. Vollenwieder. "Some of these patients have had wheezing and shortness of breath for 40, 50 years. Now, they're walking. Now, they're jogging. Now, some patients actually return to work when they were on disability."Dillon's lung capacity increased 31-percent just six weeks after his last treatment.
"I can do things in my yard," said Dillon. "I can go work in my yard for five hours, and do what use to take me two or three days, because I'd go out there and almost pass out.""Those are the stories that keep me doing this," said Dr. Vollenwieder.
Dr. Vollenwieder said one complete treatment should last a lifetime.Right now, the procedure has only been approved for adults with asthma. You have to be at least 18 years old.