Anytime Dealveon started to feel short of breath, it was hard not to panic. He had his first asthma attack in pre-school, which was so severe that he lost consciousness and was rushed to the emergency room.
Now 16 years old, Dealveon has been diagnosed with a severe form of asthma known as eosinophilic asthma. Eosinophilic asthma does not always respond to standard treatments like inhaled steroids, making the asthma hard to control and making him more prone to asthma attacks.
“I used to feel like I couldn’t breathe, and I would wheeze a lot,” he says.
Two years ago, Dealveon experienced several asthma attacks that led him to the Emergency Department at Lurie Children’s. The Lurie Children’s Inner City Asthma Consortium Research Team identified him as someone with difficult-to-control asthma who might benefit from being in a research study that provides free asthma care, transportation to/from study visits, asthma education and counselling and a written asthma action plan.
As part of the asthma research program, Dealveon and his team of providers right away created an Asthma Action Plan that outlines the steps necessary to keep his asthma under control. The plan identifies triggers and ways to avoid them, as well as immediate responses for emergencies. He also has access to asthma counseling, which helps him work through the anxiety of having a chronic condition and 24/7 access to study physicians.
“We work with our patients in the Inner City Asthma Consortium Research Program to help them remember how to take their medications,” says Sarah Godley, RN, BSN, a research nurse coordinator at Lurie Children’s. “Teens usually don’t want to be without their cell phones, so we work with them and put alarms on their phones as reminders for their medications in the morning and evening.”
Since enrolling in the asthma study, Dealveon has not experienced any asthma attacks.
“I feel so much better now,” he says. “I used to be so nervous I was going to have an asthma attack, but this has helped me control my asthma better than I could before.”
“This program has saved his life,” says Dealveon’s mom, Latonya. “We know families who have had children as young as 11 years old pass away from asthma. It’s a scary reality. But knowing he is in good hands at Lurie Children’s brings me a sense of peace.”
As he begins his senior year of high school, Dealveon is looking forward to seeing his friends virtually. He enjoys designing his own T-shirts and hopes to have a career in fashion design.
Lurie Children’s treats more children with asthma than any other area hospital or medical center. Our high-risk asthma program brings together pulmonary and allergy experts to collaborate on treatment and provide world-class care for children and adolescents. Our goal is to work with families to help minimize the effect of asthma on children by creating treatment plans to prevent symptoms and effectively respond to symptoms when they occur. In 2010 and 2011, Lurie Children’s was recognized as a Top Performer in The Joint Commission’s Top Performers on Key Quality Measures™ program.
Lurie Children’s Division of Allergy and Immunology participates in the NIH-sponsored Inner City Asthma Consortium, whose mission is to reduce asthma morbidity and mortality among urban children and to understand the mechanisms that contribute to asthma severity in this population. Lurie Children’s has been a member of this research network since it began in 1991. Dr. Jacqueline Pongracic, Head of the Division of Allergy and Immunology, is the Principal Investigator of the study.