Bronchial thermoplasty is designed to offer long-lasting relief to those suffering from the most severe forms of asthma.
For severe sufferers, traditional treatments such as inhalers will still be needed, but the new bronchial thermoplasty method uses heat to directly treat the lungs.
When patients receive the treatment, they’re sedated as a bronchoscope, a long, flexible tube with a camera on one end, is inserted through the nose or mouth to allow a doctor to ease a catheter into the patient’s airway. Once it’s in place, the catheter tip is heated to 149 degrees. The heat gets rid of excess smooth muscle from airways, which widens air passages and reduces the chances of an asthma attack.
Patients come in for three sessions, each spaced three weeks apart. Each appointment focuses on a different area of the lungs. Dr. Kaveh Bagheri said during the first session, heat is delivered to the right lower lobe. The second session focuses on the left lower lobe with the final visit delivering heat to the left and right upper lobes. All sessions are done on an outpatient basis, and each lasts less than an hour.
“It’s important to know (the heat) is not replacing any of our traditional treatment,” Dr. Bagheri said. “This is an add-on therapy in addition to what we’re already doing.”