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Bronchial Thermoplasty in Southeastern MA

Did you know that bronchial thermoplasty (also known as BT) remains the only device based non-pharmacological treatment approach for severe asthma? Approved by the FDA in 2010, bronchial thermoplasty helps reduce severe asthma exacerbations by reducing excess airway smooth muscle tissue. This is important because the less smooth muscle tissue there is, the less airway constriction there is during an exacerbation.

Southcoast Health is proud to administer bronchial thermoplasty as one of the respiratory services offered in our southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island locations. Learn more about this procedure for severe asthma below.

What is Severe Asthma?

Severe asthma refers to asthma that does not respond well to regular treatments, which can include inhaled corticosteroids and inhaled bronchodilator medications. Individuals suffering from severe asthma have symptoms that are difficult to control, which makes their asthma attacks more dangerous. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines, asthma is considered severe if:

  • Symptoms occur throughout the day, significantly limiting a person’s regular activities
  • Symptoms are waking an individual up at night, 1 night a week for ages 4 and younger and 7 nights a week for ages 5+
  • Symptoms require short-acting beta 2-agonist therapy several times a day
  • FEV 1 measurement of less than 60% of usual for ages 5+

What is Bronchial Thermoplasty?

Bronchial thermoplasty is a non-drug procedure approved by the FDA for the treatment of severe persistent asthma in adults whose asthma is not well controlled with inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta-agonists. The bronchoscopy-based procedure uses a small catheter to deliver controlled energy to the airways of the lung to reduce the amount of excessive airway smooth muscle. This decreases the muscle’s ability to constrict the airways, resulting in fewer asthma attacks.

Treatment has been shown to improve asthma-related quality of life and asthma control – including decreased asthma exacerbations, reduced emergency room visits and hospitalization for respiratory symptoms, and fewer days lost from work or school.

What To Expect with Bronchial Thermoplasty

Bronchial Thermoplasty is a no incision, outpatient procedure. Performed by a bronchial thermoplasty-certified and experienced pulmonologist, the procedure is administered by the Alair™ System in 3 sessions. To ensure the patient’s safety, each session is dedicated to treating a different part of the lung. 

During the procedure, the Alair™ catheter delivers radiofrequency energy to the airway walls. This applies a mild heat in a controlled manner, which helps reduce the amount of excessive airway smooth muscle present in the lungs.

While bronchial thermoplasty is not a cure for severe asthma, it can help improve your overall quality of life. Clinical trials showed that many patients experienced a decrease in severe asthma attacks, visits to the ER, and hospitalizations for respiratory symptoms, as well as fewer days lost from work and school.

Ideal Candidate for Bronchial Thermoplasty

Bronchial thermoplasty is indicated for the treatment of severe asthma in patients whose asthma is not well controlled with medications like Advair™, Symbicort™, Breo™, or Dulera™. You must be 18 years old to qualify for this treatment. Individuals with a pacemaker, internal defibrillator, or other implantable electronic device, have a known sensitivity to medications required to perform bronchoscopy, or have been previously treated with bronchial thermoplasty will not qualify for this procedure.

Severe Asthma Treatment in New Bedford, MA

If you suffer from severe asthma, it’s important that you talk with your doctor who can refer you to a specialist in pulmonary medicine about your treatment options. Here at Southcoast Health, we offer Bronchial Thermoplasty in New Bedford, Massachusetts at St. Luke’s Hospital. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us today.