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PinnacleHealth now Offering Bronchial Thermoplasty to Help Severe Asthma Patients Breathe Easier

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Heart, Vascular & Lung Care

New Procedure for Long Lasting Control of Severe Asthma

HARRISBURG, Pa. (August 5, 2013) -- PinnacleHealth is among the first in the United States to offer a new procedure for severe asthma patients, known as bronchial thermoplasty. Patients who are 18 years and older and suffer from severe persistent asthma that is not well controlled with inhaled corticosteroids and long acting beta agonists, the current standard-of-care treatments, are eligible for the procedure.

"I have patients with severe persistent asthma, where medication and lifestyle changes are not enough. Frequent hospital trips are almost inevitable, and steroid medications can have long-term side effects. Bronchial Thermoplasty is an exciting, new option for them," states Henry Ostman, MD, pulmonary and critical care specialist. "Our first patients are seeing a reduced need for reliever medication and better overall quality of life."

Bronchial thermoplasty is an outpatient procedure that treats severe asthma by going to the source. The lungs consist of multiple airway passages surrounded by smooth muscle. For people with asthma, this smooth muscle is more susceptible to triggers and irritants that can cause it to constrict and reduce the amount of air that flows through the lungs. Bronchial thermoplasty uses a small catheter to deliver controlled energy to the airways of the lung to reduce the amount of excessive airway smooth muscle. This reduction decreases the muscle’s ability to constrict the airways, resulting in a decreased frequency of asthma attacks. Doctors perform bronchial thermoplasty, a minimally invasive procedure, under moderate sedation and the patient returns home the same day.

"We are pleased to add bronchial thermoplasty to our advanced pulmonary services," says Troy Moritz, DO, FACOS, thoracic surgeon with PinnacleHealth Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery. "This procedure has the potential to enhance quality of life for patients suffering from severe persistent asthma."

Vickie Jones of Dillsburg has suffered with adult-onset asthma since 1986.

"In recent years, the asthma has been difficult to control. I felt like I had tried every medication and inhaler available," explains Vicki. "It was affecting my ability to work and live. At its worst, I would be out of breath just walking across the kitchen."

Vickie completed her third treatment of bronchial thermoplasty in June and is feeling great.

"We went on vacation about a week and half following the first procedure. I was able to walk to top of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in North Carolina for the first time," shares Vickie. "I had given up all outdoor activities—camping, hiking and gardening. Now I can work in my yard all afternoon."

Millions of patients with asthma struggle to keep their disease under control. Asthma accounts for two million emergency room visits in the US each year. Each day, roughly 40,000 unscheduled physician office visits, 5,000 emergency room visits, and 1,000 hospitalizations occur due to asthma.

Bronchial Thermoplasty is one of many advanced pulmonary procedures offered at PinnacleHealth. As part of a multidisciplinary Pulmonary Nodule Clinic, our physicians provide rapid evaluation and treatment of pulmonary nodules and offer lung cancer screening, Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS), Electromagnetic Navigational Bronchoscopy (ENB), transthoracic needle biopsy, and advanced surgical techniques including da Vinci Robotic-assisted Thoracic Surgery, CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery and Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery.

For more information on cardiopulmonary services and bronchial thermoplasty at PinnacleHealth, please visit

EDITOR'S NOTE: Dr. Henry Ostman or Dr. Troy Moritz are available for interviews, as well as the patient Vickie Jones. In addition, images are available. Please call Carly Donahue(717) 926-7688 to arrange.
About PinnacleHealth System
PinnacleHealth is a pioneer not-for-profit healthcare system dedicated to providing and improving the health and quality of life for the people of Central Pennsylvania since 1873. A proven leader in medical innovation, PinnacleHealth offers a wide range of services from primary care to the most complex surgeries and Magnet recognition for nursing excellence. The healthcare network includes four campuses (Community, West Shore, Harrisburg and Polyclinic) and medical services, including family practice, imaging, outpatient surgery and oncology, at multiple locations throughout the region. For a complete list of services, visit our website at