New Treatment for Asthma: Bronchial Thermoplasty

Bronchial Thermoplasty with the Alair® System is a non-drug procedure approved by the FDA that helps decrease the frequency of asthma attacks.

Asthma is a chronic disease in the lungs in which the airways can become smaller or narrower and make it harder to breathe. Asthma is one of America's most common and costly diseases with more than 20 million asthma sufferers in the United States. It significantly impacts quality of life and can be life-threatening. If severe asthma is controlling your life, your asthma may not be well controlled. Take control.

Swedish Medical Center now is offering a new outpatient procedure for patients with severe asthma: Bronchial Thermoplasty. Bronchial thermoplasty is a non-drug procedure that will help severe asthma patients achieve better control of their symptoms 365 days a year. The procedure has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of severe persistent asthma in patients 18 years and older whose asthma is not well controlled with inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta-agonists.

Asthma Treatment Bronchial Thermoplasty Denver

Bronchial thermoplasty is a treatment option that can provide additional benefits to standard asthma medications. In clinical studies, bronchial thermoplasty has been shown to improve asthma related quality of life and provide long-lasting asthma control, including:

  • Reduced asthma attacks
  • Decreased visits to the emergency room and hospital for respiratory symptoms
  • Less time lost from work, school and other daily activities due to asthma

What is bronchial thermoplasty?Bronchial Thermoplasty Denver

  • A procedure that delivers controlled heat to the airway walls in the lungs to reduce excess airway smooth muscle and limit the muscle’s ability to constrict the airways – and help you breathe better
  • Outpatient hospital procedure performed over three treatment sessions by a trained physician
  • A treatment option shown to increase asthma control and improve quality of life in patients with severe asthma
  • Complementary treatment to current asthma reliever and controller medications – not a cure or replacement for current asthma medications

How does the Alair® System work?

  • The Alair® Catheter is delivered to the airways through a bronchoscope accessed through the nose or mouth
  • The wire array at the end of the catheter is expanded against the airway wall and heat energy is delivered (65°C for up to 10 seconds)
  • This delivery of energy is continued until all accessible airways have been treated
  • After completion of the treatment session, the catheter and bronchoscope are removed

How is the procedure performed?

  • Non drug asthma treatment DenverThe bronchial thermoplasty procedure is performed by a specially trained pulmonologist in an outpatient hospital facility
  • The procedure is routinely performed under moderate sedation and typically takes less than an hour
  • Following the procedure, the patient is monitored for 2-4 hours (similar to other bronchoscopy procedures) and discharged home the same day
  • To treat the entire lung, the complete bronchial thermoplasty procedure is performed in three outpatient procedure visits each scheduled approximately three weeks apart

What are the benefits of bronchial thermoplasty?  

  • Decrease in severe asthma attacks
  • Reduction in ER visits for respiratory symptoms
  • Reduction in hospitalization for respiratory symptoms
  • Fewer days lost from work, school and other daily activities due to asthma

The most common risks associated with bronchial thermoplasty involve the short term worsening of asthma symptoms immediately after the procedure, which are typically resolved within one week with standard treatment.

To find out if you are a candidate for for Bronchial Thermoplasty, or to find physicians performing bronchial thermoplasty in your area, please call Director of Respiratory Care, Lonnie Martinez at 303-788-6230.