Dr. James Kaplan – bronchial thermoplasty therapy for severe asthma

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , /

– The first nondrug
treatment for severe asthma has been available for five years. But it’s only recently
that patients have started having success in
getting insurers to cover the procedure and it
costs more than $20,000. Michelle O’Brien has lived
with asthma for 45 years. It nearly took her life. – Overland Park Fire and
Rescue, bless their hearts, saved me with an epinephrine shot. And I had stopped breathing. – [Meryl] Medication wasn’t enough to prevent frequent attacks, so doctors at Overland
Park Regional recommended bronchial thermoplasty. It’s done in three separate treatments. This video provided by the hospital. Dr. James Kaplan puts a
scope into the airways to see the tissue. Then with a catheter, he
delivers heat that shrinks the smooth muscle in the airways. – It’s the clamping down
of the smooth muscle that causes an asthma attack. – [Meryl] And so by reducing it? – By reducing it they
have less asthma attacks, their lungs are less fragile and they’re able to do a lot more. – [Meryl] But insurers have been reluctant to cover bronchial thermoplasty,
saying it’s experimental. Michelle says she fought for 18 months – Denial after denial after denial. – [Meryl] before the
Kansas Insurance Commission ordered United Health Care to pay. Dr. Kaplan says more
insurers are covering it now. – Well it took the
five-year data that showed a sustained benefit for
insurance companies to be willing to accept, to approve this. – It’s a new lease on life,
I feel like I have new lungs. – [Meryl] Michelle says
she’s needed her rescue inhaler a handful of times
since her first treatment in June, compared to a
dozen times a day before. – And you have my gratitude – [Meryl] She’s running again, even recording this video
for Dr. Kaplan and his staff. – From the bottom of my heart and from the bottom of my
lungs, I thank you all. See ya! – Michelle will have her
final treatment next week. Risks include a worsening
(missing audio) after treatment. Dr. Kaplan says even
though the procedure costs more than 20 thousand, it can save money by preventing ER visits and hospital stays. Meryl Lin McKean, Fox
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