New drug-free treatment may keep asthmatics out of the ER - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/23/10

New drug-free treatment may keep asthmatics out of the ER

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By Karin McCay| email

Edited by Kristin Beerman | email 

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Asthma attacks send two million Americans to emergency rooms every year gasping for air, but a new drug-free treatment may help a lot of those patients avoid a trip to the ER. It's called Bronchial Thermoplasty and is developed by Asthmatix.

"We saw in our pivotal study, a 32% reduction in severe asthma attacks and an 84% reduction in ER visits," said Glen French, the CEO of Asthmatix.

During an outpatient procedure, a device is inserted through a tube in the nose or mouth. It sends radio-frequency energy, which heats the lungs and shrinks the muscle inside, dramatically reducing the airway's ability to close down. Patients need three separate outpatient treatments, during the course of six weeks.

It's not cheap, the three procedures add up to about $8,000, but now that the therapy is FDA approved, experts are hopeful that insurance companies will provide coverage in the future.

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