EORH Offers First of its Kind Procedure to Treat Adults with Severe Asthma

Friday, April 8, 2016


(Martins Ferry, OH) - East Ohio Regional Hospital now offers Bronchial Thermoplasty (BT) delivered by the Alair™ System as a safe outpatient procedure that is proven to reduce asthma attacks and emergency rooms visits for at least five years in adult patients with severe asthma, and is shown to improve asthma-related quality of life for people living with the disease.

“For the patient’s that have severe or difficult to control asthma, this is a new therapy and it’s not offered anywhere nearby, only at East Ohio Regional Hospital,” said Dr. Melvin Saludes, M.D., pulmonologist and sleep specialist.  “The greatest aspect of this procedure is improving the patient’s quality of life and their ability to do the things they enjoy, which have been limited because of their severe asthma.”

More than 25 million people in the U.S. have asthma, and approximately 5-10% suffers from severe asthma. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), managing uncontrolled asthma consumes over $18 billion of healthcare resources each year. In the U.S. each year, asthma attacks result in approximately 10 million outpatient visits, 2 million emergency rooms visits, 500,000 hospitalizations, and 3,300 deaths.  Prior to the BT procedure, doctors had only pharmaceutical medications to offer their severe asthma patients temporary relief from asthma symptoms. EORH offers this first of its kind medical device procedure to provide severe asthma patients with a safe, long- lasting, and proven treatment option to help reduce asthma attacks.

“It’s a novel procedure,” said Bernie Albertini, vice president and chief administrative officer of East Ohio Regional Hospital. “We are able to offer state-of-the-art patient care at a community hospital and improve the lives of our patients without them having to leave the area.  Bronchial Thermoplasty brings a level of quality care to EORH that raises the bar.”

In a clinical study, 79 percent of patients treated with BT saw a significant improvement in their asthma-related quality of life. Asthma patients have become accustomed to avoiding the many environmental triggers that increase their risks of having an asthma attack, such as staying indoors during pollen or cold weather seasons, avoiding perfume and cigarette smoke, avoiding exercise or any type of exertion or stress. People with severe asthma can miss work, school, and even avoid traveling due to the effects of the disease. In addition, adults whose severe asthma symptoms persist despite taking the maximum tolerated medications are at risk of suffering life-threatening asthma attacks requiring immediate treatment at an emergency room.

“We performed the procedure on two patients who have suffered from severe asthma for more than two decades,” said Dr. Saludes.  “Now those patients are going to have a decrease in flare-ups, are going to be able to decrease the number of medications, and will definitely be able to decrease hospitalizations and emergency room visits.”

Clinical studies on Bronchial Thermoplasty Bronchial Thermoplasty (BT) delivered by the Alair™ System is a safe outpatient procedure that has been proven to reduce asthma attacks and emergency rooms visits for adult patients with severe asthma. In a clinical study, at year one compared to a control group, patients who had the BT procedure showed:


  • 32 percent reduction in severe asthma attacks

  • 84 percent reduction in emergency room visits for respiratory related symptoms

  • 66 percent fewer days lost from work, school, and other activities due to asthma symptoms

In addition, the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the most-cited journal in the field of allergy and clinical immunology, published data confirming the lasting effectiveness and safety of BT, including:


  • The reduction in severe asthma attacks was maintained out to five years.

  • The reduction in emergency room visits for respiratory symptoms was maintained out to five years.

  • No increase in hospitalizations, asthma symptoms, or respiratory adverse events over the course of 5 years.

The Bronchial Thermoplasty procedure is not a substitute for pharmaceutical medication as prescribed by a doctor. It works along with pharmaceuticals to provide less risk of asthma attacks and its complications for those suffering from severe asthma.



Pictured is Dr. Melvin Saludes at East Ohio Regional Hospital where he recently performed the area’s first Bronchial Thermoplasty procedure for the treatment of asthma.