Bronchial Thermoplasty for Asthma Control

If you're taking high doses of corticosteroids and long-acting beta2-agonists (LABAs) to reduce your symptoms but still struggle to control severe asthma, you may want to explore a new procedure called bronchial thermoplasty.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently issued a warning that use of LABAs can have serious side effects. This emerging technique, bronchial thermoplasty, actually improves the condition of your lungs and may be the answer to help you achieve better lasting asthma management.

Bronchial Thermoplasty Provides Long-Term Control

While most asthma medications provide temporary symptom relief for asthmatics, bronchial thermoplasty is the first asthma treatment that actually changes the anatomy of your lungs in order to help them function better over the long term.

How Bronchial Thermoplasty Works

The process of bronchial thermoplasty involves feeding a long instrument via your nose or your throat into your lungs in order to deliver a form of controlled heat or thermal energy to the lining of the airways. This smoothes the muscle and helps it shrink, which can prevent the constriction that usually occurs in an asthma attack.

Usually patients undergo three separate bronchial thermoplasty treatments, which are performed as an outpatient procedure every two weeks in order to reach all of the airway areas and achieve the best results.

Bronchial Thermoplasty Findings

Research presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) in fall 2010 supports the effectiveness of using bronchial thermoplasty in patients to reduce asthma symptoms, particularly when LABAs are discontinued.

This is especially significant because up until now, long-term reliance on LABAs was the only option for asthmatics with severe symptoms. Considering the new FDA warning about serious side effects, however, using bronchial thermoplasty could be an important alternative to enable asthmatics to phase out their LABAs without experiencing respiratory distress.

What You Can Do

If you have serious asthma that's very difficult to control and are now relying on LABAs to manage your condition, ask your doctor whether you'd be a good candidate for bronchial thermoplasty. Keep in mind that this procedure is not yet widely available but if it continues to be effective, more doctors will be trained in this method.

In the meantime, it's important to continue to take steps to control your asthma as best you can. Here are some things you can do:

  • Be diligent about following your asthma action plan.
  • Use your peak flow monitor every day to track your breathing capacity.
  • Monitor your symptoms so you'll notice if they start to flare.
  • Always take your medication as directed.

A Final Note

If you're concerned about the effects of LABAs, talk to your doctor about the safety in taking them long-term. But don't stop taking them on your own since this can put your health at serious risk.



"Great News for Asthma Sufferers - Procedure Helps Maintain Control
after Laba Withdrawal. ACAAI 2010 Annual Scientific Meeting/Asthma Abstract News Briefs." American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. ACAAI, 13 Nov. 2010. Web. 23 Dec. 2010.

"Health Hints: Asthma Treatment - Gaining good life quality." Family and Consumer Sciences, Agri Life Extension. Texas A&M System, Dec. 2010. Web. 23 Dec. 2010.

"Recently Approved Devices." US Food and Drug Administration, 19 May 2010. Web. 20 Dec. 2010.