Bronchial thermoplasty, which is now available in Fort Wayne at Lutheran Hospital, is a procedure that treats the airway smooth muscle hypertrophy to provide long-lasting asthma control by reducing the number of asthma attacks and improving the quality of life for patients age 18 and older with severe asthma. Bronchial thermoplasty is a complement to asthma maintenance medications, not a replacement.
How does the procedure work?
While the patient is under sedation, a catheter is inserted through a bronchoscope through the nose or mouth to the lungs, where it delivers thermal energy into the airways to reduce the amount of excess smooth muscle tissue. Less muscle tissue means less airway constriction and fewer asthma attacks.
Is bronchial thermoplasty a one-time procedure?
Bronchial thermoplasty is performed in three separate procedures, which are usually about three weeks apart. A different section of the lungs is targeted each procedure.
Do I have to stay overnight in the hospital?
Patients are closely monitored after the procedure and usually return home the same day.
What should I be aware of after the procedure?
Immediately following bronchial thermoplasty, asthma-related respiratory symptoms may worsen, usually within 24 hours after the procedure. On average, the symptoms will resolve themselves in 48 to 72 hours with standard care. Patients will be medicated with prednisone before and after the procedure to decrease airway inflammation.
Are there risk factors associated with bronchial thermoplasty?
Each patient has a 3.4 percent chance of being admitted to the hospital after the procedure for worsening asthma-related respiratory symptoms, such as cough, dyspnea, chest pain/tightness and an increase in sputum production.
Is bronchial thermoplasty effective?
A double blind study on thermal bronchoplasty, Asthma Intervention Research trial 2, showed the following results at one year:
- A 36 percent reduction in asthma exacerbations
- An 84 percent reduction in emergency room visits
- A 66 percent reduction in loss of days
- A 73 percent reduction in hospitalizations
- An 80 percent improvement in quality of life
Will my insurance cover bronchial thermoplasty?
Patients should check with their insurance provider for coverage details.
For additional information, call the LMG pulmonology department at (260) 432-2297.