Asthma is among the most prevalent chronic respiratory diseases, estimated to affect over 300 million people globally. Asthma sufferers have difficulty moving air in and out of the lungs, due to airway narrowing (bronchoconstriction), airway wall thickening (inflammation), and increased mucus production. The ongoing burden of this serious and costly disease is estimated at more than $50 billion per year with more than 5,000 emergency department visits per day in the US alone,.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Symptoms of asthma include wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and cough that vary over time in their occurrence, frequency and intensity. These variations are often triggered by factors such as exercise, allergen or irritant exposure, changes in weather, or viral respiratory infections. There are different types of asthma, with different underlying disease processes. Asthma ‘triggers’ may or may not be associated with a specific type of asthma.
There is no single test to diagnose asthma. A diagnosis of asthma may require multiple assessments over a prolonged period of time to identify recurring characteristic symptom patterns and evidence of variable airflow limitation. Most patients do not exhibit symptoms between ‘flare-ups’ (exacerbations), making diagnosis challenging.
There is currently no cure for asthma, but there are treatment plans that can help patients manage the disease. Avoidance of asthma triggers combined with pharmacological treatment is the approach for most patients.
Approximately three quarters of asthma sufferers are adults, with 10% suffering from severe asthma, which is difficult to treat. Severe asthma often requires multiple medications to maintain or achieve control of symptoms and the risk of flare-ups. Severe asthma may also be refractory, or insensitive to currently available medications. This means that despite use of their medications, these patients still cannot achieve asthma control or avoid flare-ups which may result in an overall reduction in their quality of life. Severe asthma patients may also suffer from co-morbid diseases for which treatment remains incomplete, further complicating treatment options.
Targeted Lung Denervation
Nuvaira is developing a minimally invasive therapy to treat adults with severe asthma. This simple, one-time bronchoscopic treatment, called Targeted Lung Denervation or TLD, has the potential to provide lasting whole lung improvement for severe asthma patients by opening obstructed airways to make breathing easier. TLD is under clinical investigation and is not yet commercially available.
For more information about asthma, the following websites may be useful:
Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA)
European Respiratory Society (ERS)
European Lung Foundation (ELF)
American Thoracic Society (ATS)
American Lung Association (ALA)
American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology
For current asthma treatment options, please consult a healthcare professional.
 Global, regional prevalence for COPD and asthma 1990-2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. www.the lancert.com/respiratory. Online Aug. 16, 2017.
 Wang, Emergency department charges for asthma-related outpatient visits. J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2014 February; 25(1):396-405
 Barnett, Costs of Asthma in the United States:2002-2007. J Allergy Clin Immunol January 2011.
 Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA). Global Strategy for Asthma Management and Prevention, 2017.
 G John Gibson, Robert Leddenkemper, Yves Sibille, Bo Lundback. European Lung White Book: Respiratory Health and Disease in Europe. European Respiratory Society, 2013. http://www.erswhitebook.org/chapters/adult-asthma/. Last accessed July 21, 2017