Bronchial Thermoplasty

November 12, 2012

Bronchial Thermoplasty

Many people suffer from asthma but for those who find that inhaling corticosteroids is ineffective, a procedure called a bronchial thermoplasty may be necessary.

Asthma Overview

Asthma is a common condition that affects people all over world to varying degrees. In most cases treatment and medication such as inhaled corticosteroids and long acting beta-agonists are sufficient in controlling asthma episodes. However there are people whom these forms of medication do not prove effective in controlling their condition. For these patients who are over the age of 18 years and suffer from severe and persistent asthma there is a non-drug procedure called bronchial thermoplasty.

The procedure

An Alair Bronchial Thermoplasty System is used to reduce the excessive airway smooth muscles that asthma patients suffer from. By reducing the airway smooth muscles it allows the airways to remain clear and reduces the ability for them to constrict. It is the constriction that brings on asthma attacks. These excessive airway smooth muscles are reduced with use of the system, which delivers controlled amounts of thermal energy to the airway wall.

The procedure is performed in three stages with a different area of the lungs treated each time. There should be a period of approximately 3 weeks in between each session. It is considered to be a minimally invasive bronchoscopic procedure and the patient should not be aware of any pain. In most cases a light anaesthesia may be used to slightly sedate and relax the patient. The patient will usually return home the same day. The three sessions completes the treatment and there is not yet any evidence or research that indicates how safe or effective repeat treatments may be but the initial procedure is considered to be effective long-term.

The aim of a bronchial thermoplasy is to improve the quality of life for patients who previously suffered from uncontrollable asthma. This procedure is thought of as a long-term treatment but medications should still be taken and in most cases will prove more effective now it is being supported by the thermoplasty treatment. Results show that patients who undergo a bronchial thermoplasty suffer from less frequent asthma attacks and therefore reduced amounts of emergency room patients suffering from respiratory symptoms and severe exacerbations. This also means that patients require less time off work or school due to sickness and are also able to join in with more general daily activities.

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