There are several ways in which Asthma can be treated, of which Bronchial Thermoplasty is a promising treatment for severe asthma. During asthma attacks, there are muscles inside the lungs called the ‘smooth muscles’ that get all tightened, which brings about a difficulty in breathing. Bronchial Thermoplasty employs the use of heat to compress these muscles’ mass and thickness to increase airflow. The procedure is carried out by a doctor in three sessions. Every one of these sessions is just for about an hour and at each time, separate parts of the lungs are treated. Bronchial Thermoplasty does not cure Asthma; it only makes breathing easier and better.
Bronchial Thermoplasty Procedure
- A test is carried out by the doctor to determine the amount of air that can be blown out
- A steroid pill would be given
- Anesthesia would be administered based on the doctor’s advice.
- A small-like tube known as the bronchoscope will be inserted into your mouth down through the throat into the lungs.
- A much smaller tube meant to warm the airway in the lungs to about 65 degrees Celsius is inserted into the bronchoscope. This warmth is very mild and you most likely might not feel it nor the tube.
- Afterwards, you would be placed on 3-4 hours rest, only to do a lung test later.
- You would have to visit the doctor regularly for about 6 weeks
Who is Bronchial Thermoplasty meant for?
Bronchial Thermoplasty is basically for very severe cases. Not every asthma patient can undergo the treatment and it can only be recommended by the doctor if:
- Inhalers and medicines can no longer treat the asthma
- The patient is between the age of 18 to 65
- Patient has not been smoking for a year
- Oral steroid is needed to manage the asthma
Benefits of Bronchial Thermoplasty
In a study carried out on severe asthma patients, the following was discovered:
- 32% decrease in asthma attacks
- Increase in the quality of life of asthma patients
- Visitto hospitals are minimized with lesser no of asthma patients in emergency rooms
- Absenteeism from school and work place is reduced
- Reduced asthma attacks for about 5-years after Bronchial Thermoplasty treatment
Side Effects of Bronchial Thermoplasty
Some side effects might occur after treatment; however, most times they are not severe. Some of these side effects include:
- Patients usually feel dizzy after treatment just for a short time
- Sometimes, patients react to the insertion of the bronchoscope by wheezing and coughing
These side effects usually do not last long, say about a week.