New device could help chronic sinusitis sufferers

Suffer from allergies or sinusitis? New treatment providing relief

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The Ohio Valley doesn't have a good reputation when it comes to sinus issues and allergies, but a new device is helping people breathe a little easier.

"Our environment is nice," Kentuckiana Ear, Nose & Throat Dr. Thomas Higgins said. "We have all the seasons but, unfortunately that brings all the different types of pollens and allergies."

Christine Vaughan loves to be outdoors and stays active but, she's always grabbing at one thing.

"I always have a box of Kleenex," Vaughan said. "I have them in my car, on my desk, and every room of my house."

People often ask Vaughan if she has a cold.

"I constantly sound congested," Vaughan said. "When I cough, I sound like someone who has smoked their entire life and never had a cigarette."

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Christine has a condition that effects 1 in 8 people, chronic sinusitis.

"Chronic sinusitis is when you have the inflammation of the lining of the sinuses that occur over three months sometimes for years."

The symptoms of chronic sinusitis include severe headaches, facial pressure, congestion, breathing problems and loss of smell and taste.

"There are days where I can't walk up steps because I can't get enough breath in because I'm so congested," Vaughan said.

People like Vaughan have gotten relief with an FDA approved device called Propel. It's similar to a stent a cardiologist would use in a patient's arteries. Dr. Higgins says the stent is put into a person's sinuses.

In the past, procedures included packing the sinus with gauze. The Propel stent is like a small spring that expands to prop open the sinus and delivers medication with anti-inflammatory properties right into the sinus lining. It then dissolves into the body. The relief it offers is temporary.

"Right now this will absorb at one month and have a three-month effect," Dr. Higgins said.

"I wasn't congested all the time," Vaughan said. "I really felt like I was able to breathe. Really nice like oh wow, it's like months where i don't have to take a lot of medication to enjoy a meal."

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