Do you follow your asthma action plan religiously and take your medication exactly as prescribed, yet feel like your asthma still isn't well controlled? If so, you may be interested in learning more about a new drug-free treatment method called bronchial thermoplasty. This outpatient technique seems to offer relief for asthma patients whose symptoms don't respond to other, more typical, treatment options.

Treatment without Side Effects

While most asthmatics have success with a standard treatment regime, a small group of people find that standard medication strategies don't do the trick to manage their condition. For this troublesome population, in the spring of 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a form of bronchial thermoplasty, which can help manage asthma quickly and effectively. Better yet, it performs without the side effects that commonly come along with pharmaceutical interventions.

How it Works

In the simplest terms, bronchial thermoplasty is a procedure that relies on radio waves to heat the tissue of your airways and modify the smooth muscle surface. This in turn reduces the risk of experiencing asthma spasms.

The process is quick to perform and easy to tolerate, usually being done in three separate 30-minute sessions in order to achieve full effectiveness.

Offering Real Hope

A double-blind study led by researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine that was included in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine in January 2010 looked at this procedure's effectiveness on a group of almost 300 adults. What they found was that bronchial thermoplasty greatly improved the quality of life for participants on several levels. For instance, it reduced the number of asthma attacks suffered by patients by more than 30 percent, prevented asthma from interfering in school and work by more than 65 percent, reduced emergency room visits by more than 80 percent, and cut hospitalization stays by more than 70 percent.  Better yet, the results seem to be long-term.

What it Means for You

If you suffer from severe asthma that can't be managed well, it's definitely worth talking to your doctor about bronchial thermoplasty to find out if you're an appropriate candidate to try this treatment method.

In the meantime, it's important that you continue following your asthma action plan and taking your medications to manage your symptoms as best you can until you get the go-ahead to try something different.

You should also keep in mind that while bronchial thermoplasty can be very effective, at this time it isn't recommended for people whose symptoms respond well to typical control medications. But if you're in need of something more and your doctor gives his approval, then bronchial thermoplasty may control your symptoms effectively and improve your quality of life in the process.


Monthly Prescribing Reference (MPR)

American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine