Bronchial Thermoplasty

Common cases of asthma are usually treatable or at least the symptoms are adequately controlled when patients have the right equipment and observe strict compliance to the recommended drug dosage. However, not every asthma sufferer is lucky enough to avoid contracting a much more severe case of this disease, or perhaps the condition eventually becomes tolerant to the usual set of prescribed medications. The recent development and approval of a new treatment for severe asthma called Bronchial Thermoplasty is one of the best pieces of news that suffering asthma patients could have hoped for.

What is Bronchial Thermoplasty?

Bronchial Thermoplasty

Bronchial Thermoplasty, Source: Asthmatx

Bronchial Thermoplasty is one of the most recent technological breakthroughs in the area of medical science and treatment options for severe asthma. Bronchial Thermoplasty is a treatment procedure administered to patients who suffer from asthma symptoms so severe that conventional asthma medications and existing medical equipment fail to address the problem. The procedure has only recently been cleared and aprroved for practice by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Not only does the term “Bronchial Thermoplasty” refer to the treatment process, but to the actual thermoplasty device which performs the treatment as well. The technology of these thermoplasty devices uses RF (Radio Frequency) heat, the same energy used in many of the successful cosmetic treatment devices that deliver promising results. Clinical studies of asthma patients administered Bronchial Thermoplasty show they experienced 73% less hospitalizations for respiratory problems after having the treatment performed.

How is Bronchial Thermoplasty treatment administered?

As the name suggest, Bronchial Thermoplasty employs RF heating on the bronchial tubes to achieve its objective. To fully understand how Bronchial Thermoplasty treatment works, it would be better to first be aware of the basic problems associated with asthma. Asthma can simply be described as the chronic inflammation of the bronchial airways. Thus, when any part of the body is inflamed, it usually swells and bulges. When an asthma attack occurs, the bronchial airways swell and thicken, constricting airflow to the lungs which leads to difficulty in breathing and other discomforts for the patient suffering the attack.

The Bronchial Thermoplasty procedure works by reducing the tubular muscle tissue that constrict breathing when inflamed, all with the aid of RF heat energy. To deliver RF energy to the concerned bronchial tubes, extra thin and flexible tubes are inserted from either the nose or mouth down to the airways of the lungs. These tubes will hold corresponding wires that will emit the heat on the bronchial tube walls. RF heat will then be created and applied by the Bronchial Thermoplasty device and dependent on the surgeon’s diagnosis of the patient’s condition, the intensity of RF heat may be controlled or adjusted. Heating up and removing portions of this muscle tissue usually prevents the airways from tightening to such a severe degree they would have before Bronchial Thermoplasty was administered.

Who may undergo Bronchial Thermoplasty treatment?

Asthma is one of the common medical problems a lot of individuals suffer from, many of them children, but not all asthma patients may be admitted for Bronchial Thermoplasty treatment. Doctors who have developed the treatment say that currently only asthmatics who are at least 18 years of age may be admitted for Bronchial Thermoplasty. Their condition and severity of asthma symptoms should be categorized as either moderate, persistent, or severe. Bronchial Thermoplasty is also an option when regular medications such as long-acting beta-agonist and all other asthma treatment alternatives prove to be futile in effectively managing the symptoms. Bronchial Thermoplasty can’t be administered to anyone who uses electrical health devices implanted in the body such as a pacemaker.

Identified risks and health hazards of Bronchial Thermoplasty

Since the treatment is rather new and the Bronchial Thermoplasty device is not yet widely available, potential risks and health hazards, especially long-term effects, have not yet been established. Nonetheless, patients may experience mild coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath right after undergoing Bronchial Thermoplasty treatment.

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