Patient gets relief after living 30 years with incorrect asthma diagnosis

May 8, 2014 by Katie Pence, University of Cincinnati

Sardinia, Ohio, resident Sharon Haskin says she spent her entire life using nebulizers and inhalers to deal with what she thought was a bad case of asthma.

However, after a trip to Florida left her feeling sicker than ever, John, her husband of 36 years, asked her physician to take a closer look and find some answers to her breathing troubles.

"My doctor did a bronchoscopy and found that I had dynamic airway collapse (EDAC)," she says, adding that she might have had the condition as a child and was misdiagnosed for years.

EDAC is a collapse of the trachea and main bronchus of more than 50 percent of its diameter during exhalation. Patients are often misdiagnosed with asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and they present with a chronic barking cough, severe shortness of breath and chest pain.

Haskin was referred to UC Health—"I love UC, and have had great experiences there," she says—and was seen by Sadia Benzaquen, MD, UC Health interventional pulmonologist and UC Cancer Institute physician.

Benzaquen, who is also an assistant professor in the department of internal medicine, passed the newly created Interventional Pulmonology Boards, making him only one of three certified physicians in Ohio and the only one in the Tristate.

Interventional pulmonology focuses on the use of advanced diagnostic and therapeutic techniques to treat patients with lung cancer, pleural disease and other advanced airway disorders. Benzaquen is currently the only highly trained interventional pulmonologist in the area.

Benzaquen did another bronchoscopy and found the "worst case he'd ever seen," Haskin remembers. She was awake for the procedure.

"As scary as it was, he held my hand the entire time—he's truly one in a million," she says.

Benzaquen prescribed antibiotics, but the condition did not improve, and he suggested a temporary stent to open the airway and tracheoplasty, to repair the trachea and keep the airway open.

"This is not a well-known condition, and we are the only pulmonologists in the region treating these patients with specialized care needs," says Benzaquen.

Haskin had the stent placed around Thanksgiving and underwent the tracheoplasty surgery at Dayton's Miami Valley Hospital in January.

"Dr. Benzaquen told me when he put the stent in that I'd know immediately if it worked, and I did," she says. "As I woke up from the sedation, I noticed right away that I could breathe—finally."

Now, she's able to fill her lungs with air unlike she's ever been able to do before, and it's all thanks to UC Health and Dr. Benzaquen.

"When Dr. Benzaquen saw me for the first time after the surgery, he was so excited—'I can hear your voice,' he said," Haskin recalled, adding that her voice became much stronger after she stopped all of the asthma treatments. "He's just an amazing doctor—the whole team is wonderful.

"It's important for people to know that they can get the best care possible locally; there's no need to go to a larger medical center in another city when the best is right here in our back yards."

Explore further: Hot, Humid Weather Could Affect Asthma Sufferers

Related Stories

Hot, Humid Weather Could Affect Asthma Sufferers

July 21, 2011
The Tristate has experienced a stint of heat waves this summer which have not only included high temperatures but also high humidity that has made the air feel like a perpetual sauna.

'Flash freeze' therapy being used to treat precancerous and cancerous conditions

August 20, 2013
A multidisciplinary team of UC Health specialists is using a new technology to flash freeze tissue surfaces in the lungs and esophagus and treat patients with small tumors or dysplasia which could lead to cancer.

New procedure helps patients with severe asthma breathe easier

October 30, 2012
Nearly 24 million people in this country suffer from asthma. For most of them, avoiding allergens and taking medications help keep their asthma under control. But for a small group with severe persistent asthma, frequent ...

Colon cancer decreases but misconceptions remain

March 27, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Recent reports have shown that colon cancer rates have fallen by 30 percent over the past decade, particularly in people over age 50, because of the effectiveness of colonoscopies and awareness efforts ...

Recommended for you

Creation of synthetic horsepox virus could lead to more effective smallpox vaccine

January 19, 2018
UAlberta researchers created a new synthetic virus that could lead to the development of a more effective vaccine against smallpox. The discovery demonstrates how techniques based on the use of synthetic DNA can be used to ...

Study ends debate over role of steroids in treating septic shock

January 19, 2018
The results from the largest ever study of septic shock could improve treatment for critically ill patients and save health systems worldwide hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

New approach could help curtail hospitalizations due to influenza infection

January 18, 2018
More than 700,000 Americans were hospitalized due to illnesses associated with the seasonal flu during the 2014-15 flu season, according to federal estimates. A radical new approach to vaccine development at UCLA may help ...

Zika virus damages placenta, which may explain malformed babies

January 18, 2018
Though the Zika virus is widely known for a recent outbreak that caused children to be born with microencephaly, or having a small head, and other malformations, scientists have struggled to explain how the virus affects ...

Certain flu virus mutations may compensate for fitness costs of other mutations

January 18, 2018
Seasonal flu viruses continually undergo mutations that help them evade the human immune system, but some of these mutations can reduce a virus's potency. According to new research published in PLOS Pathogens, certain mutations ...

Study reveals how MRSA infection compromises lymphatic function

January 17, 2018
Infections of the skin or other soft tissues with the hard-to-treat MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) bacteria appear to permanently compromise the lymphatic system, which is crucial to immune system function. ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.