March 14, 2014
1 min read

Bronchial thermoplasty improved wheezing, shortness of breath

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Bronchial thermoplasty conducted at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago has led to improved wheezing, shortness of breath and asthma attacks among patients with severe asthma, according to the institution.

“This procedure is for patients who, despite receiving high levels of asthma medications, continue to suffer from asthma attacks,” Colin Gillespie, MD, pulmonologist and director of interventional pulmonology at the hospital, said in a press release. “[Bronchial thermoplasty] offers these patients a way to control their disease.”

Colin Gillespie

Colin Gillespie

In 2010, the procedure was the first non-drug therapy approved by the FDA for patients with severe asthma. The minimally invasive procedure is performed by a pulmonologist in three sessions at 3-week intervals. Each session takes less than 1 hour and requires no incisions because the procedure is performed via bronchoscope through the nose or mouth. Heat energy is delivered to the airway of the lungs, which is thought to reduce excessive muscle, decrease airway narrowing and reduce asthma attacks.

“Asthma affects many people in this country, and often is undertreated by physicians,” Ravi Kalhan, MD, pulmonologist and director of the asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease program at the hospital, said in the release. “The bronchial thermoplasty procedure offers our patients with severe refractory asthma an option that may improve their quality of life. This is an important addition to the available therapies for this common condition.”