Bronchial thermoplasty shows long-term effectiveness for asthma

December 2, 2013

The beneficial effects of bronchial thermoplasty, a non-pharmacologic treatment for asthma, last at least five years, according to researchers at National Jewish Health and other institutions. The therapy, in which heat is applied to a patient's airways during a bronchoscopy procedure, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in April 2010. Among other criteria, the researchers report in the December issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology that reductions in severe asthma exacerbations, emergency department visits, medication use and missed workdays continued out to five years after the procedure was performed.

"These data add to the growing body of evidence that bronchial thermoplasty has a long-term benefit and is an important option for patients whose moderate to is not controlled by medications," said Michael Wechsler, MD, lead author of the study and professor of medicine at National Jewish Health.

During bronchial thermoplasty a physician uses a specialized bronchoscope to apply radio frequency energy to heat the airways. The treatment is done in three separate procedures approximately three weeks apart, and reduces smooth muscle surrounding the airways, which can constrict and reduce airflow in asthma.

Earlier research showed that most patients who underwent bronchial thermoplasty in the AIR2 trial experienced benefits for at least two years. The current study extends that to five years.

In the year before bronchial thermoplasty, 52 percent of patients suffered severe exacerbations of their asthma. That dropped to 31 percent in the first year following the treatment and averaged 29 percent over the five years following the procedure.

After bronchial thermoplasty 78 percent fewer patients made visits to the , dropping from about 30 percent of to less than 7 percent.

Missed workdays dropped 66 percent in the five years after bronchial thermoplasty. Average use of corticosteroid medications also dropped 17 percent.

Stable rates of respiratory adverse events and respiratory-related hospitalizations as well as unchanged CT scans in years two through five indicated that there were no significant safety concerns with the procedure.

Explore further: New procedure helps patients with severe asthma breathe easier

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Epigenomic changes are key to innate immunological memory

August 31, 2015

A research team led by Keisuke Yoshida and Shunsuke Ishii of the RIKEN Molecular Genetics Laboratory has revealed that epigenomic changes induced by pathogen infections, mediated by a transcription factor called ATF7, are ...

Team finds early inflammatory response paralyzes T cells

August 18, 2015

In a discovery that is likely to rewrite immunology text books, researchers at UC Davis have found that early exposure to inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin 2, can "paralyze" CD4 T cells, immune components that help ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

joemostowey
not rated yet Dec 02, 2013
When having an asthma attack, I sit and breath the heat coming from my cars heat vent, turned to maximum heat. Always worked for me.
I also use very hot water to relieve the itch from my Eczema- water as hot as I can stand, sprayed onto the affected areas- gives me 8 to 10 hours of scratch free relief - I think the heat stops the histamine reaction, because it works to stop the itch of chigger bites and cat scratches and all other insects. works on wasp stings stopping the pain instantly.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.