Tony suffered from asthma all his life. From the time he was 3-years-old, emergency room visits and 8-hour stretches in an oxygen tent were common. Later, when he was properly diagnosed, Tony embraced the inhalers and treatments that were supposed to give him a normal life. But time and again, Tony found himself in the ER or doctor’s office, desperate just to breathe. By the time he’d reached his mid 40’s, his asthma was so bad he could no longer sleep or hold down a job. “I was miserable and didn’t think I would make it to my 50th birthday,” Tony says.
Odds are that you know someone who suffers from asthma, especially since the disease is one of the most common and costly diseases in the world, affecting as many as 20 million Americans. Consider this: each year there are 13.6 million unscheduled office visits and 1.8 million emergency room visits, many of which lead to hospitalization . . . and many thousands of deaths.
So it was a time of celebration when Virginia Hospital Center announced in May 2010 that it would be the first hospital in the United States to offer a new procedure for severe asthma patients, known as bronchial thermoplasty. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), this new procedure is intended for people whose asthma is not well controlled with inhalers and other medicines.
“We were honored to be the first hospital offering this revolutionary new procedure to adults suffering from severe asthma in the DC Metro area,” says Dr. David R. Duhamel, Director of Pulmonary Special Procedures and the Lung Cancer Center at Virginia promising tool in the arsenal that has the potential to reduce hospital visits, out-of-pocket healthcare costs, and days missed from work. This definitive intervention provides a long-term benefit to adult asthma patients and significantly improves the quality of life for those suffering from this chronic condition.”
At Virginia Hospital Center, Tony was the first patient post-FDA approval to undergo bronchial thermoplasty, and in just three painless procedures he experienced normal lung function which has completely transformed his life.
“Asthma felt like a knife jabbing in my chest,” Tony says. “After the first procedure, I felt fantastic right away. I wasn’t tired, sick, or wheezing. So I started running and got faster and faster. I lost 40-50 pounds, and then started placing at the top in local races."
“I haven’t missed a day of work in five years,” Tony says with a smile. “I love Dr. Duhamel and Dr. Hales, my pulmonologists, and all their staff, and everyone at Virginia Hospital Center. They are all just the best people in the world, and I owe them my life. Every morning I get up and pray that they have the greatest day. And I have donated to the Hospital to defray the costs for other asthmatics. I’m not a wealthy guy, but I just felt I had to so that they too could live the life I’m living.”
Since May 2010, 250 men and women have successfully undergone bronchial thermoplasty and are today living lives they had never dared to dream of.
Thank you for your gifts to Virginia Hospital Center that keep us on the cutting edge of medical excellence!