Allegheny General and Saint Vincent Hospitals offer bronchial thermoplasty - the newest technique for treating severe, uncontrolled asthma.
The Alair™ System bronchial thermoplasty system is the first non-drug therapy approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating severe asthma in adults when inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta-agonists fail to provide good asthma management. BT does not replace maintenance medications, but works with the patient’s medication to provide long-term stability in symptoms and lessen severe attacks.
A full course of bronchial thermoplasty treatment includes three separate bronchoscopic procedures: one for the each lower lobe of the lung and another for both upper lobes. The procedure includes the insertion of a catheter through the nose or mouth, that is placed in the lungs and delivers a series of 10-second temperature controlled bursts of radio frequency energy, heating the lining of the lungs to 65 degrees Celsius. It is this heat that destroys some of the muscle tissue which constricts during an asthma attack, reducing the number and severity of exacerbations. Each outpatient procedure is performed approximately three weeks apart and the patient is monitored after the procedure and usually returns home that day or early the next day.