Bronchial Thermoplasty (BT)


What is BT?

Bronchial thermoplasty is a minimally invasive, novel means of treating patients with severe asthma. Severe asthma is defined as any patient requiring high dose inhaled corticosteroids, with ongoing symptoms requiring reliever usage, or, frequent exacerbations.

Through the application of low levels of heat to the airways, the smooth muscle of the bronchial wall is ablated. Airway smooth muscle has no known normal function in humans, and can therefore be safely targeted through this treatment. The smooth muscle is responsible for much of the airway limitation (bronchoconstriction), experienced in asthma.
 

What's involved in BT?

BT is applied under light sedation, via a bronchoscope, and requires a one night overnight stay in a hospital. There is a risk of triggering an asthma exacerbation post procedure, necessitating the administration of prednisolone (or equivalent steroid) prior to the procedure. The technology is otherwise quite safe, and the risks of complications are low.
 

What are the benefits?

Successful application of BT has been shown to have a number of beneficial effects in up to 80% of asthma patients, including; reduced symptoms, reduced exacerbation frequency, reduced steroid/inhaler medication requirements, reduced reliever requirements, improved quality of life, and reduced time off work/school.