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Published on March 18, 2014

Mercy Medical Center offers new treatment for severe asthma

Bronchial Thermoplasty is available at Mercy Pulmonology Clinic by the area’s only board-certified interventional pulmonologist

Mercy Pulmonology Clinic is offering a new FDA-approved treatment for severe asthma aimed at improving a patient’s quality of life and providing long-lasting asthma control.

Mercy acquired the Bronchial Thermoplasty (BT) technology by the Alair™ System earlier this year and is now treating patients. BT is a safe outpatient procedure for the treatment of severe asthma in adult patients 18 years and older whose asthma is not well controlled with inhaled or other medications.

The procedure uses mild heat to reduce the amount of excess smooth muscle tissue in the airways. Less muscle tissue means less airway constriction during an asthma attack. BT is performed in three sessions, typically scheduled several weeks apart. The first session treats the airways in the right lower lobe of the lungs, the second treats the airways in the left lower lobe and the third procedure treats the airways in both upper lobes of the lungs. Each session is performed under moderate sedation and typically takes less than an hour to complete. No incision is needed.

At Mercy, the procedure is administered by Dr. Eduardo Celis, the only board-certified interventional pulmonologist in the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City area. Dr. Celis is certified in pulmonary and critical care medicine and has trained in bronchial thermoplasty for the past two years as part of a clinical trial at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI. He now offers the procedure to patients at Mercy.  

Gloria Cervantes of Marion has suffered from asthma since childhood. She recently met with Dr. Celis at Mercy Pulmonology Clinic and he determined she was a good candidate for the procedure. She’s now moving forward with the approval process. “I’m really excited about the possibility of having bronchial thermoplasty and getting off so many medications,” said Cervantes. “I’m ready. There are so many things I want to do, like walking outside and going to the gym, without having to worry about my breathing.”

Asthma is one of the nation’s most common and costly diseases with more than 20 million asthma sufferers.

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