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New Asthma Treatment

A volunteer rolls a patient down the hallway at the hospital in Columbus, NE.

A volunteer rolls a patient down the hallway at the hospital in Columbus, NE.

The FDA has just approved the first non-drug asthma treatment.

It could change the lives of many of the 20 million Americans who have a hard time doing what most of us take for granted.

It's not the saws or the hammers that makes Jeff Craddock's job dangerous. Jeff Craddock says, “We have either the saw dust or the dry wall dust, or we have the insulation back here."

He feared he'd have to sell his business to save his life. Craddock said, "I would have to use a rescue inhaler at a minimum, three, four, five times a day." When medication failed, he tried a new approach -- bronchial thermoplasty.

With normal breathing, the airways of the lungs are fully open.
People with severe asthma have more muscle surrounding their airways.

This excess muscle combined with inflammation makes the walls even thicker. During bronchial thermoplasty, a small tube is inserted through the mouth or nose into the lungs.

The catheter delivers radiofrequency energy to the muscles around the windpipe. David r. Duhamel, a Doctor and the Director of the pulmonary special procedures unit at Virginia hospital center said, "This brings the wires in contact with the lining of the breathing tube."

The heat prevents the muscles from contracting and narrowing during an attack. Dr. Duhamel also said, "It’s about the temperature of a warm cup of coffee. It's not burning. It's not sparking. It's not ablating anything.”

A new study shows a 32 percent reduction in asthma attacks, 84 percent drop in e-r visits, 73-percent reduction in hospital stays and 66-percent drop in lost time from work or school.

The new therapy allowed Jeff to do chores that used to take his breath away.

Craddick says, "breathing in, it doesn't affect me anymore. I'm not at home just trying to exist. I'm actually working." Working hard and breathing easier for the first time, in a long time.

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