A few years ago, Sankaran noticed that she was having more trouble breathing than normal. For this active mother of three, yoga practitioner and self-described "hyperactive" individual, being slowed down by asthma was not an option.
"I think it started with allergies, but I'm really not sure," she recalls. "I tried all the name brand asthma medications and started getting monthly shots, but nothing was really helping."
When all other treatments failed, Sankaran turned to El Camino Hospital's Dr. Ganesh Krishna of Palo Alto Medical Foundation, who is performing one of the most innovative treatments available for asthma sufferers, bronchial thermoplasty (BT). When the FDA approved BT in 2010, El Camino Hospital was just one of two hospitals in California offering the treatment.
Bronchial thermoplasty is a procedure that uses radio frequency (transferred as heat energy) inside the bronchial tubes and decreases the bulk of the muscles of the tube wall. Once the bulk of the muscles of the bronchial airways are lessened they are less able to constrict and close, as they tend to do in an asthma attack.
The treatment is broken up into three stages approximately three weeks apart to treat different areas of the lungs.
Sankaran says that the El Camino Hospital staff, including Dr. Krishna, were "very supportive and helpful. The doctor took very good care of me," she says.