National Jewish Health is one of the first institutions in the United States to offer a procedure for people with severe asthma to help them breathe more easily This procedure is known as bronchial thermoplasty (BT). BT is an FDA-approved procedure for the treatment of asthma; it was approved in 2010 for use in people 18 years or older with severe asthma whose symptoms are not well controlled with inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta agonists.
Video courtesy of Boston Scientific Corporation
Benefits of Bronchial Thermoplasty
In clinical trials, BT has been shown to improve asthma-related quality of life in 79% of people who received treatment.
People treated with BT also had:
- 84% fewer asthma-related emergency room visits
- 66% fewer days lost from work, school, and other activities due to asthma symptoms
- 32% fewer severe asthma attacks.
How Bronchial Thermoplasty Works
BT helps to reduce the smooth muscle mass in the airways through delivery of controlled thermal (heat) energy to the airway walls. The thermal energy is delivered to the airway walls over a series of 3 bronchoscopies.
Learn what to expect during the BT procedure.
Good Candidates for Bronchial Thermoplasty
You may be a good candidate for the BT procedure if:
- you are 18 years of age or older,
- you have severe asthma,
- and your symptoms are not well controlled despite the use of inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta agonists.
Ineligible Candidates for Bronchial Thermoplasty
You are not a candidate for BT if:
- You have a pacemaker, internal defibrillator, or some other type of implantable electronic device.
- You have sensitivity to the medications used when performing a bronchoscopy, including benzodiazepines, atropine and lidocaine.
- You have been previously treated with BT.
Side Effects of Bronchial Thermoplasty
There are few side effects from the BT procedure, but people may experience temporary worsening of respiratory symptoms within one to seven days following the procedure. There is a small risk (3.4%) of these symptoms requiring hospitalization.
National Jewish Health for Bronchial Thermoplasty
If you have severe asthma, seek the best care possible.
At National Jewish Health, you have the support of the leading respiratory hospital in the nation. People come from around the world to receive treatment they can’t find anywhere else.
Dr. Michael Wechsler performs the BT procedure at National Jewish Health. He's performed the procedure dozens of times and served as the principal investigator of the study (AIR2 Trial), which was the largest BT research trial in the world.
Dr. Wechsler lectures internationally on BT and presented five year data on BT at the American Thoracic Society meeting in 2013.
Beyond the BT procedure itself, our team of pulmonary specialists will help you take control of your asthma using a multidisciplinary approach to treat all aspects of asthma. We offer a wide range of individualized treatment programs that reflect your specific needs. As a dedicated partner in helping you manage your asthma we provide:
- Diagnostic tests not available elsewhere
- Rehabilitation services, including pulmonary rehab and occupational therapy
- Nutrition education and counseling
- Psychological assessment and treatment
Additionally, our team of insurance and administration specialists will work with you and your insurance to determine whether BT is a covered benefit under your policy.