Asthma Treatment Improves Condition One Year Later – Bronchial Thermoplasty BT Uses Heat To Reduce Smooth Muscle Bronchial Tubes
(Best Syndication) Canadian researchers say that asthma patients who received bronchial thermoplasty (BT) did better after one year than patients who did not receive the treatment. Patients who underwent the minimally invasive procedure had fewer asthma attacks and more days without asthma symptoms.
The researchers also said that the overall “quality of life” had improved for patients who received the procedure. They also needed less medication and had an “improvement in asthma control”. This reinforces the results from earlier trials.
The bronchial thermoplasty involves inserting a bronchoscope (a routine procedure) through the nose or the mouth and into the medium sized airways. The BT device generates heat using radio frequency waves. The heat reduces areas of underlying smooth muscle in the airways. The smooth muscle is responsible for the constriction of the airways.
It is done under light anesthesia, and the patient usually returns home the same day. The treatment is completed in three sessions lasting less than one hour each spaced three weeks apart.
"These findings are very encouraging and are consistent with earlier trial results on bronchial thermoplasty," explains Dr. Gerard Cox. "These results make us hopeful that bronchial thermoplasty may be a new option for asthma patients who have asthma symptoms despite use of current drug therapies."
The randomized study involved 112 patients between the ages of 18-65 at 11 centers in four countries. The Asthma Intervention Research (AIR) Trial evaluated the safety and effectiveness of bronchial thermoplasty as a treatment for patients with moderate to severe asthma.
Several years ago, Dr. John Miller began limited bronchial thermoplasty procedures in patients who were scheduled to have lung surgery. "We saw that this particular way of treating the airway had a profound effect on the smooth muscle and not much else,” Dr. Miller explains. “The amount of smooth muscle is significantly reduced by thermoplasty and we recognized that this procedure might therefore be an appropriate treatment for people with asthma.”
"I’m quite pleased to say that our experience suggests that the Bronchial Thermoplasty procedure is quite well-tolerated, and it holds considerable promise for patients with asthma."
The research is published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Co-Principal Investigators, Dr. Gerard Cox, respirologist at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health, and Professor at McMaster University, and Dr. John Miller, Division Head of Thoracic Surgery at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and McMaster University authored the study.
BY Marsha Quinn
Best Syndicaiton Health Writer
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