Riverview to offer new asthma treatment

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Riverview Regional Medical Center continues its push to expand advanced medical offerings to its patients, as the facility completed Etowah County’s first bronchial thermoplasty (BT) on Nov. 20. 

Created for adults with severe asthma who continue to have asthma-related symptoms despite standard medications, the procedure was performed by Dr. K.J. Shah, a Pulmonologist at Riverview Regional Medical Center.

BT is a non-surgical outpatient procedure that treats severe asthma by delivering controlled energy to the airways of the lung in order to reduce the amount of excessive airway smooth muscle. By this reduction, the muscle’s ability to constrict the airway is decreased, resulting in a lower frequency of asthma attacks.

“We’ve had an excellent experience with our first patient to undergo bronchial thermoplasty,” said Dr. Shah. “The procedure holds real promise for long-term relief for our asthma patients who have not responded as well as we would like to existing medications.”

BT with the Alair System is FDA-approved for adults with severe asthma and is expected to complement asthma medications by providing long-lasting asthma control. The procedure is routinely performed under moderate sedation and the patient goes 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.

In a clinical trial, almost 79 percent of patients treated with BT reported significant improvements in their asthma-related quality of life. The benefits of bronchial thermoplasty include reduced severe asthma attacks, decreased visits to the ER and hospital for respiratory symptoms and less time lost from work or school due to asthma.

While BT does not replace current daily maintenance medication, the process provides long-term stability in asthma symptoms and lessens severe asthma attacks requiring oral steroids.

Riverview Regional is the first hospital in Etowah County to offer bronchial thermoplasty, demonstrating the medical center’s continued commitment to better patient outcomes through advanced technology and procedures. The procedure also will be offered by Dr. Luis Urbina, and Dr. Mazen Hakim, both of whom are pulmonologists skilled in bronchoscopy and are specially trained to perform bronchial thermoplasty.

In October, the hospital rolled out its new Veran SPiNView Navigational Bronchoscopy System, which allows physicians to locate and diagnose lung cancer at earlier stages compared to traditional methods.

Riverview Regional Medical Center is one of Alabama’s leading providers of care. The hospital consistently ranks as one of the top hospitals in the Gadsden Area. Recognized for advanced technology, innovative treatments, collaboration among Alabama’s leading health care professionals and a highly compassionate patient care team, Riverview serves as a vital healthcare facility for residents of numerous surrounding communities and cities, as well as patients from around the state.

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