In this medical video learn how doctors are studying a way to prevent asthma attacks without drugs.
Jennifer Matthews: Carol Burke has lived with severe asthma since she was six months old. Carol Burke: I didn't learn to ride a bike until I was 12 and never learned how to swim. Jennifer Matthews: And she is still struggles with it. Carol recently moved from a house to a one-floor condo because it's easier to get around. And she bought new furniture to keep her home dust-free. Carol Burke: Because of my asthma, my life has been probably restricted to a certain extent. Jennifer Matthews: Like most asthmatics, Carol takes a variety of medications. Ali I. Musani: Go ahead and start, blow, blow, blow, blow. Jennifer Matthews: Now researchers are hoping a new procedure called bronchial thermoplasty, it will help patients get rid of some of their meds and live healthier lives. Ali I. Musani: This is the first ever, non-pharmacological approach. By non-pharmacological, I mean no medicines are involved. Jennifer Matthews: Asthma attacks happen when allergens cause smooth airway muscle to contract or narrow. In bronchial thermoplasty, doctors insert a tube in the lungs through the nose or mouth. It releases a wire basket which delivers bursts of heat, destroying the smooth muscle responsible for the attacks. Patients in the first clinical trial had fewer attacks, reduced their meds and didn't visit the emergency room as often. That's great news for people like Carol. Carol Burke: It's a procedure that would assist in less medication, probably the ability to do more things physically. Jennifer Matthews: And she hopes to one day live wherever she chooses, not where her asthma lets her. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.