Chronic inflammation of the airways is a symptom of asthma. Asthma attacks cause the smooth muscle lining the lungs to swell even more. As a result of the swelling, breathing is difficult.
In bronchial thermoplasty, smooth muscles in the lungs are targeted to treat asthma. Asthma symptoms are prevented when smooth muscles shrink due to the use of heat.
Three sessions are scheduled, each three weeks apart. During bronchial thermoplasty, a pulmonologist, at Temecula Valley Hospital, performs the procedure. Every time you have a session with your pulmonologist, a different section of your lungs will be treated.
The treatment of severe asthma with bronchial thermoplasty is only approved for adults. It’s estimated that about 5% to 10% of asthmatics cannot be controlled with medications, inhalers or other therapies due to severe asthma.
You will be prescribed an oral steroid by your healthcare provider. You’ll take this medicine two days before the procedure, on the day of the procedure, and for two days afterward – The steroid reduces lung swelling.
During bronchial thermoplasty, you will be under anesthesia. This may be general anesthesia, which will put you to sleep so that you hold perfectly still. Or it may be lighter anesthesia.
The bronchoscope, a thin flexible tube, is inserted through the nose or mouth and down into the lungs. The doctor then inserts a catheter through the bronchoscope and into the lungs. The catheter delivers the thermal heat to the smooth muscle in your lungs, which relaxes and opens up the airways.
After bronchial thermoplasty, healthcare providers will carefully monitor you for any potential side effects.
If the procedure makes your asthma symptoms worse, you may need to stay in the hospital overnight. However, it is important to remember that bronchial thermoplasty does not cure asthma. You will still need to take medication to help control your symptoms.
There are a number of potential benefits of bronchial thermoplasty, which may include:
Reducing the frequency of severe asthma attacks. Severe asthma attacks can be very debilitating, and can often lead to hospitalization. Bronchial thermoplasty can help to reduce the frequency of these attacks, which can improve quality of life for those with severe asthma.
Improving asthma symptoms. Asthma symptoms can often be improved with bronchial thermoplasty. This may include reduced shortness of breath, improved airflow, and reduced wheezing.
Reducing the need for asthma medications. Many people with asthma require medication to control their symptoms. Bronchial thermoplasty can help to reduce the need for these medications, which may improve quality of life and reduce the risk of side effects.
As a result of the procedure itself, your lungs may be irritated for a few days. If you have asthma-like symptoms during this period, you may experience shortness of breath or chest tightness. If you are experiencing these symptoms, your provider may be able to provide ways of reducing irritation (such as using an inhaler).
We accept most PPO and Medicare insurance plans. We recommend you contact your insurance plan to insure we are in-network.