Asthma

Asthma

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Duke’s asthma specialists have years of experience treating children and adults with all types of asthma, ranging from mild to very severe. Our advanced training and skill with a variety of medical approaches enable us to help you control your asthma while also preventing and minimizing the severity of future attacks. Our goal is to provide you with comprehensive care and to educate and empower you to manage your disease.

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Treatments

Inhaled Medications

Anti-inflammatory drugs and bronchodilators inhaled directly into the lungs normalize your lung function and control asthma symptoms. Inhaled corticosteroids reduce inflammation and swelling of the airways. Bronchodilators relax the muscles that can constrict your airways. Some are short-acting and quickly relieve asthma symptoms. Others are long-acting and are used in combination with inhaled steroids.

Asthma Nebulizers

A breathing machine may be recommended if you have trouble using inhalers. This machine changes liquid asthma medications into a mist that is inhaled through a mask or mouthpiece.

Oral Corticosteroids

These medications reduce inflammation and swelling in the airways. They may be prescribed short-term if you have a serious asthma attack.  

Omalizumab (Xolair)

Targets a molecule called IgE, a protein found in high levels in the blood of people with allergic asthma. Administered by trained nurses in the clinic. This medication is recommended for people with poorly controlled asthma who don't respond to conventional therapy.

Allergy Therapy

Treats allergic diseases that worsen asthma or lead to poor asthma control.

Bronchial Thermoplasty

Treats severe allergic asthma, especially if you do not respond to traditional treatments. It delivers heat energy directly to the airways via a bronchoscope. The heat energy reduces the size of the smooth muscle in the airway. This decreases your airways' ability to constrict. Current data shows bronchial thermoplasty improves quality of life in people with severe asthma.

Our Locations
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Tests

To ensure the best treatment for your asthma, you may undergo one or more of the following tests:

Spirometry

Tests how your lungs function, including the volume and speed with which air is inhaled and exhaled.

Negative Inspiratory Force

Indicates the strength of your breathing muscles by measuring the greatest force that chest muscles can use to take in a breath.

Plethysmographs

Commonly used to measure total lung capacity and volume when the muscles of respiration are relaxed.

Lung Volume by Nitrogen Washout

Measures the nitrogen content in your lungs, which is used to evaluate the level of constriction in your airways. The test is performed by having you exhale into a one-way valve.

Diffusion Capacity

Determines your lungs’ ability to transport gas into and out of the blood.

Maximum Voluntary Ventilation

Measures the maximum amount of air that you can inhale and exhale within one minute.

Sighing (Slow) Vital Capacity

Measures the maximum amount of air you can expel from your lungs after sighing.

Chest X-Rays

Images are taken of your lungs and other organs, including your heart, to look for underlying reasons for your asthma symptoms.

Methacholine Challenge Test

Confirms asthma diagnosis by testing how your lungs function after inhaling methacholine. If you have asthma, your lung function will decrease as your airways constrict.

Bronchoscopy

A tube, or bronchoscope, is inserted through your nose or mouth to obtain an internal view of your airways. A biopsy taken from your lungs during the test can indicate what type of inflammation you have to determine the best treatment.

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Our Expertise Offers Hope to Asthma Sufferers

Outstanding Coordinated Care
We pinpoint the underlying cause of your asthma symptoms and work with specialists throughout Duke to manage the conditions that may contribute to poor asthma control. That includes ear, nose, and throat specialists if your asthma is worsened by chronic sinusitis, allergists and immunologists if you have allergic rhinitis or immune deficiency, and sleep disorder experts if you have sleep apnea. We ensure you receive the best care across all of the appropriate specialties.

Personalized Approach to Asthma Care
The underlying cause of asthma can be different in each individual. We use advanced techniques to identify what type of inflammation you have in your lungs and tailor your treatment to your needs. We also give you access to omalizumab (Xolair) -- a targeted therapy for severe asthma that's only available at specialized centers like ours.

Leaders in Advancing Asthma Care
We were involved in the clinical trials that led to FDA approval of thermal bronchial thermoplasty to treat severe persistent asthma. We were one of the first centers in North Carolina to offer this technology.

Access to Clinical Trials
You may be eligible to participate in our clinical trials, which test new medications and therapies. We also study asthma at the cellular level in order to individualize treatments.

Best Hospital for Pulmonology and Lung Surgery in NC
When it comes to your care, you want the very best. Duke University Hospital's nationally ranked pulmonology and lung surgery program was named best in North Carolina by U.S. News & World Report for 2019–2020.

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