Patient gets relief after living 30 years with incorrect asthma diagnosis

May 8, 2014 by Katie Pence

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

Google searches can be used to track dengue in underdeveloped countries

July 20, 2017
An analytical tool that combines Google search data with government-provided clinical data can quickly and accurately track dengue fever in less-developed countries, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

MRSA emerged years before methicillin was even discovered

July 19, 2017
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) emerged long before the introduction of the antibiotic methicillin into clinical practice, according to a study published in the open access journal Genome Biology. It was ...

New test distinguishes Zika from similar viral infections

July 18, 2017
A new test is the best-to-date in differentiating Zika virus infections from infections caused by similar viruses. The antibody-based assay, developed by researchers at UC Berkeley and Humabs BioMed, a private biotechnology ...

'Superbugs' study reveals complex picture of E. coli bloodstream infections

July 18, 2017
The first large-scale genetic study of Escherichia coli (E. coli) cultured from patients with bloodstream infections in England showed that drug resistant 'superbugs' are not always out-competing other strains. Research by ...

Ebola virus can persist in monkeys that survived disease, even after symptoms disappear

July 17, 2017
Ebola virus infection can be detected in rhesus monkeys that survive the disease and no longer show symptoms, according to research published by Army scientists in today's online edition of the journal Nature Microbiology. ...

Mountain gorillas have herpes virus similar to that found in humans

July 13, 2017
Scientists from the University of California, Davis, have detected a herpes virus in wild mountain gorillas that is very similar to the Epstein-Barr virus in humans, according to a study published today in the journal Scientific ...

0 comments

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.