YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Relief may be in store for area residents suffering from severe asthma.
Doctors at St. Elizabeth are performing a procedure known as bronchial thermoplasty on patients who don't respond well to traditional therapies.
"While you are under light sedation, we take a scope that has a light source and a channel it in. We pass that into the lungs and then in the lungs a device is then passed through that, which gives the radio frequency thermal energy," said Dr. Timothy Barreiro with Humility of Mary Health Partners.
It's that heat doctor's credit for helping to improve the quality of life of severe asthma patients.
Through a series of procedures, heat from a catheter destroys the smooth muscle tissue ultimately reducing the number and severity of asthma attacks.
"Those people that use the emergency room for recurrent flares are the people that really benefit from it and we know that your chance of significant morbidity, injury or death occurs to people who use frequent short active rescue inhalers or are in the emergency room for their asthma care. Those are the people that should really seek out more advanced care from someone in the community," Dr. Barreiro said.
Bronchial thermoplasty is performed over three out-patient visits. Each procedure takes about 30 to 45 minutes and while it's been shown to reduce symptoms, bronchial thermoplasty isn't a cure-all.
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