Dr. Lisa Kopas, a pulmonary physician, with Pulmonary Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, will be joining Dr. Galati tonight to discuss a new therapy for patients with asthma.
Bronchial thermoplasty is an outpatient procedure that treats severe asthma by going to the source. The lungs consist of multiple airway passages that are surrounded by airway smooth muscle. For patients with asthma, this smooth airway muscle is more susceptible to triggers and irritants that can cause it to constrict and reduce the amount of airflow through the lungs.  Bronchial thermoplasty uses radiofrequency waves to shrink the smooth muscle reducing the muscle’s ability to constrict, thereby creating a larger airway. This increased airflow results in a decreased frequency of asthma attacks.
“Not receiving enough oxygen to breath comfortably is extremely distressing. Bronchial thermoplasty will bring relief to patients who previously may not have had other treatment options,” said Lisa Kopas, MD, a pulmonologist at St. Luke’s. “As a leader in healthcare, St. Luke’s is pleased to be the first hospital in Houston to offer this innovative technology to our patients.”
Bronchial thermoplasty with the Alair® System is approved by the FDA for adults with severe asthma who are not well controlled on current medications, and is expected to complement asthma medications by providing long-lasting asthma control. The procedure typically takes less than an hour to complete, with the patient returning home the same day. To treat the entire lung, the complete bronchial thermoplasty procedure is performed in three separate outpatient treatment sessions, each treating a different area of the lung and scheduled approximately three weeks apart.
Undergoing his first procedure of the bronchial thermoplasty with Dr. Kopas in late October, Pakesbusch experienced minor discomfort immediately following the procedure and returned to work two days later. “The first treatment was a piece of cake,” remembers Pakesbusch.  He completed his third and final procedure in mid-December.
“I’m looking forward to 2012 being a great year,” adds Pakesbusch. “I am feeling so much better!”
“As a pulmonologist who treats severe asthmatics I am excited to offer bronchial thermoplasty, a well tested, permanent treatment which improves quality of life. Not only has this bronchoscopic treatment been shown to decrease exacerbations and visits to the ER but has very few complications or side effects,” explains Dr. Kopas.