Bronchial thermoplasty: A new asthma treatment?

content provided by mayoclinic.com

Bronchial thermoplasty: A new asthma treatment?

Question

What can you tell me about a new asthma treatment called bronchial thermoplasty? I read about it on the Internet.

Noemie
Canada

Answer

Bronchial thermoplasty is an experimental treatment for severe asthma. Although preliminary results are promising, more research is needed to determine what role, if any, bronchial thermoplasty should play in asthma treatment.

The theory behind bronchial thermoplasty is that asthma is caused by overgrowth of smooth muscle tissue in the large airways (bronchial tubes). During an asthma attack, the muscle contracts and narrows the airways — making breathing more difficult.

In bronchial thermoplasty, heat is applied to muscle in the bronchial tubes using a thin, flexible tube (bronchoscope) passed down your windpipe (trachea) and into your lungs. The heat changes the muscle tissue so that it doesn't contract as tightly. Scientists hope this treatment may decrease asthma symptoms as well as reduce the need for asthma medications in people with severe asthma.

Because bronchial thermoplasty is still experimental, it's available only for use in clinical trials at this time.

Last Updated: 11/09/2006
© 1998-2014 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "Mayo Clinic Health Information," "Reliable information for a healthier life" and the triple-shield Mayo logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

Terms and conditions of use

 

Bookmark and Share   E-Mail Page   Printer Friendly Version