Sarasota, Florida -- Ninfa Del Purgatorio enjoys her daily walks but knows her seasonal allergies can trigger an asthma attack at any time.
Ninfa always has her inhaler within reach; one of several medicines to help maintain and prevent an asthma attack. When she has an asthma attack Ninfa says, "I feel a tightness in my chest."
Pulmonary Medicine Specialist Dr. Joseph Seaman at Sarasota Memorial Hospital offers a new medical treatment approved by the FDA called Bronchial Thermoplasty to help severe asthma patients breath easier.
Dr. Seaman says, "Those are generally folks who have symptoms several times a week and several times a year have flare ups that require them to go to the hospital."
Using a bronco-scope the procedure is minimally invasive and makes for a quick recovery. Inside the bronco-scope is a catheter.
There is a new FDA-approved asthma treatment avalable for severe asthmatics.
"A small catheter is inserted into the lung and a small amount of heat energy is applied to the bronchial tube so that the asthma reaction is reduced by reducing the amount smooth muscle in the airwave wall," says Dr. Seaman.
The heat energy is about the same temperature as a hot cop of coffee, according to Seaman. Patients undergo three treatments every three weeks as an outpatient procedure.
"This procedure has shown to reduce the number of episode of flare ups, ER visits, urgent Doctor's visits or missing work have having to stay home," says Seaman.
Results are backed up by a 5 year study.
"This does not cure asthma. The intent of the therapy is to improve one's asthma control so you have an improved quality of life," say Seaman.
Ninfa says, "I think it can change a lot of people's lives with asthma. It's a wonderful thing."