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New Procedure Helps Asthma Patients Breathe More Easily

Noninvasive heat therapy reduces attacks (Oct. 29)

Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Ill., has reported promising results with a new procedure called bronchial thermoplasty (BT) — the first non-drug therapy approved by the FDA for patients with severe asthma.

The Boston Scientific Alair Bronchial Thermoplasty System is a simple, minimally invasive outpatient procedure that delivers heat energy to lung airways, thereby decreasing the ability of the airways to narrow and reducing asthma attacks.

In a clinical study, adults with severe asthma that were treated with BT had improved quality of life:

  • 84% reduction in emergency room visits for symptoms of asthma
  • 73% reduction in hospital visits for symptoms of asthma
  • 66% reduction in lost days from work, school, or other activities due to asthma
  • 32% reduction in asthma attacks

According to pulmonologist Ravi Kalhan, MD, asthma is often undertreated by physicians. “The bronchial thermoplasty procedure offers our patients with severe refractory asthma an option that may improve their quality of life,” he said. “This is an important addition to the available therapies for this common condition.”

Source: Northwestern Memorial Hospital, October 29, 2012.

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