The Alair® Bronchial Thermoplasty System was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Adult patients who suffer from severe persistent asthma that is not well controlled with inhaled corticosteroids and long acting beta agonists, the current standard-of-care treatments, will be eligible for the procedure. The procedure will be offered at National Jewish Health within the next several weeks.
“Bronchial thermoplasty is a novel procedure that could improve quality of life for asthma patients where medications have proved ineffective,” said Ali I. Musani, MD, Interventional Pulmonologist at National Jewish Health. “Thousands of Americans struggle to keep asthma under control. We’re hopeful this procedure can provide long-lasting positive affects.”
Bronchial thermoplasty is performed through a standard flexible bronchoscope that is introduced through a patient’s nose or mouth, into the lungs. The tip of the small catheter is expanded to contact the walls of targeted airways. Heat is then delivered to the airway walls, which reduces the size of the airway smooth muscle that is responsible for constriction of asthma patients’ airways. This twitching or spasm of the airways leads to wheezing and difficulty breathing. The minimally invasive procedure is done under moderate sedation, and the patient returns home the same day.
In a clinical trial, adults with severe asthma who underwent bronchial thermoplasty saw a 32 percent reduction in asthma attacks. Patients in the trial saw an 84 percent reduction in emergency room visits and a 73 percent reduction in hospitalizations for respiratory symptoms.
“The results of the trial show this new treatment can help patients with severe asthma gain better control over their disease,” said Dr. Musani.
National Jewish Health is known worldwide for treatment of patients with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders, and for groundbreaking medical research. Founded in 1899 as a nonprofit hospital, National Jewish remains the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to these disorders. Since 1998, U.S. News & World Report has ranked National Jewish the #1 respiratory hospital in the nation.