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Bronchial Thermoplasty Program

Last Updated 1/23/2013 12:41:53 PM

A New Approach to Treating Severe Asthma

Bronchial thermoplasty (BT) is an FDA-approved bronchoscopic procedure for the treatment of severe persistent asthma in individuals 18 years and older whose asthma is not well controlled with inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta agonists.

BT uses thermal energy to reduce the excessive airway smooth muscle responsible for airway constriction in asthma patients, thereby providing long-lasting control in adults with severe asthma. 

El Camino Hospital is one of the first hospitals to offer bronchial thermoplasty. In clinical trials patients receiving this procedure have experienced:

  • a 32 percent reduction in asthma attacks
  • an 84 percent reduction in emergency room visits for respiratory symptoms
  • a 73 percent reduction in hospitalizations for respiratory symptoms
  • a 66 percent reduction in days lost from work/school or other daily activities due to asthma.

Read the latest study results.

A Minimally Invasive Endoscopy Procedure for Asthma

BT is performed as an outpatient procedure for asthma patients and involves introducing a catheter into the lungs through a standard flexible bronchoscope inserted through the nose or mouth. The tip of the catheter is expanded to touch the walls of the airway. The catheter delivers controlled radiofrequency energy along the length of the airway walls in 10-second bursts, causing a reduction of the excessive airway smooth muscle.

The procedure, like many other minimally invasive flexible endoscopy procedures, is done under moderate sedation at El Camino Hospital. Most patients can return home the same day of the procedure. Watch our video animation about the procedure.

Asthma Treatment Plan

The asthma procedure is currently performed in three treatment sessions, which are routinely scheduled at least three weeks apart. Physicians treat a different part of the lungs in each treatment session for a total of three separate sessions. Each session lasts about an hour, and following a period of recovery from the sedation, patients can go about their everyday activities at home.

Patient Considerations for Bronchial Thermoplasty

Bronchial thermoplasty is a new procedure indicated for the treatment of severe persistent asthma in patients 18 years and older whose asthma is not well controlled with inhaled corticosteroids and long acting beta agonists. Not all patients are suited for this procedure. BT should only be performed in patients stable enough to undergo bronchoscopy.

In the period immediately following BT, there is an expected increase and worsening of respiratory-related asthma symptoms. These events typically occur within a day of the procedure and resolve on average within seven days with standard care.

There is a small possibility (3.4 percent per procedure) that the temporary worsening of asthma symptoms after a procedure may result in the patient being admitted to the hospital for management of asthma symptoms. Download this patient brochure for more details.

Image of Bronchial Thermoplasty animation - click to watch

You can also view an animation of the bronchial thermoplasty procedure.



Choosing El Camino Hospital for Bronchial Thermoplasty

El Camino Hospital is one of the highest-volume bronchial thermoplasty centers in the country and has been designated as the west coast training center for physicians who want to offer this breakthrough procedure for their patients. For a free physician referral call 800-216-5556.

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Video: Bronchial Thermoplasty on KGO TV

Bronchial Thermoplasty coverage on KGO-TV

Watch KGO TV's story on bronchial thermoplasty, a new, cutting-edge technology used to treat patients with severe asthma. El Camino Hospital is one of a handful of hospitals nationwide to offer the the technology. Learn more about bronchial thermoplasty.

Video: Bronchial Thermoplasty

Image of Dr. Ganesh Krishna videoWatch this video of Dr. Ganesh Krishna, of Palo Alto Medical Foundation, as he discusses Bronchial Thermoplasty as a breakthrough asthma treatment.