Innovative Treatment for Severe Asthma

Bronchial Thermoplasty

If you experience the life-limiting effects of bronchial asthma, including missing work or taking multiple medications, you could benefit from a newer outpatient treatment called bronchial thermoplasty, now available through The Lung Center at Penn Highlands DuBois.

Bronchial thermoplasty is a breakthrough procedure for severe persistent asthma in patients 18 years and older whose asthma is not well controlled with inhaled corticosteroids or long-acting beta agonists. This minimally invasive bronchoscopic procedure is performed in the course of three outpatient procedure visits, each treating a different area of the lungs. The visits are scheduled approximately three weeks apart. After all three procedures are performed, the bronchial thermoplasty treatment is complete.

Bronchial thermoplasty treats severe asthma in adults and is performed by an interventional pulmonologist. These respiratory care physicians specialize in using endoscopy and other tools to diagnose and treat conditions in the lungs.

To perform bronchial thermoplasty, the doctor places a standard flexible bronchoscope, or tube, into the lungs. He then expands the bronchoscope and applies radiofrequency heat energy through it to the airway wall. This reduces the smooth muscles in the airway, resulting in less constriction. That results in fewer asthma attacks and easier breathing.

During the procedure, patients are under moderate or deep sedation and usually go home the same day. The three-part procedure may need to be done more than once, depending upon a person’s lungs.

Bronchial thermoplasty is proven to reduce asthma attacks by 32 percent and to reduce respiratory-related emergency room visits by 84 percent. It also has been shown to decrease the number of missed days of work, school, or activity for people with severe asthma by 66 percent. Typically, you will still need to use an inhaler or other asthma medicine after bronchial thermoplasty, but you should need them less frequently.

To learn more about this life-changing procedure for people with severe asthma, download our Bronchial Thermoplasty Fact Sheet located in the resources sidebar.

Bronchial Thermoplasty Candidates

If you are an adult between the ages of 18 and 65 and suffer from severe asthma, you could be a candidate for bronchial thermoplasty. Generally, candidates are taking multiple asthma medications, including beta-agonists, oral steroids, and inhalers, but are still having asthma symptoms. If your symptoms are severe enough that you have had to adjust your lifestyle to avoid asthma triggers, or you are missing work, school or daily activities because of asthma, talk with your physician about this procedure. Insurance coverage for the bronchial thermoplasty procedure varies. The Lung Center can help you with the preauthorization process.

For more information about bronchial thermoplasty and to learn if you are a candidate, please call The Lung Center at 814-375-3770.

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