Bronchial Thermoplasty is a method of treatment that is improving the airways and making it easier for those with asthma. Asthma is a disease that affects nearly 1 in 12 people in the United States. Asthma is a disease that affects the lungs and causes the airways to tighten. Those with asthma have to learn to manage it. There is no cure, and it does not typically go away, but there are a lot of factors that can improve your symptoms as well as make your symptoms worse. When asthma cannot be managed with medication, surgical procedures may be necessary. Bronchial Thermoplasty is one such procedure that is making a difference in asthma patients.
There are airways throughout the lungs that help us breathe. When these airways are blocked, we have trouble getting the oxygen we need. All of us have choked before. Most of the time it is a result of something going down the wrong pipe. Coughing is one way that is lungs are trying to expel the thing preventing airflow. When you have asthma, you have trouble breathing and getting the oxygen you need. The airways are blocked due to inflammation and mucus. When you breathe, it is a struggle, and you are not getting the proper amount of air. Your symptoms include wheezing and chest tightness. You have coughing and shortness of breath. When you have an asthma attack, you need immediate care to get the airways open.
Treatment for Asthma
There are many treatments for asthma. Some people can treat themselves at home with aromatherapy and things of that nature. A doctor normally prescribes anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids. Oxygen therapy is also very helpful when getting treatment. When nothing else works, the doctor may choose to do a surgical procedure like Bronchial Thermoplasty.
Bronchial Thermoplasty Procedure
Bronchial Thermoplasty is an asthma treatment that uses heat to improve asthma symptoms. The long term results are great. The procedure does not require any incisions at all. A catheter-like device is placed into the airways of the lungs through the mouth or nose. The device is put in through a bronchoscope. The device has an expandable wire. When the bronchoscope reaches the right place, the wire is expanded. The wire contains electrodes that heat up. The heat is manageable and not too hot that it burns the tissue. The electrodes heat the airways for about 10 seconds. The wire is moved around to different parts of the airway, heats for 10 seconds and moved to a new part. It takes three total procedures before you notice results. After the procedure is over, the doctor removes the wire device and bronchoscope from the body. The heat works by reducing the smooth muscle in the airway. This reduction affects the ability of the airways to contract during an asthma attack.
The risks include temporary worsening of your asthma after the procedure. The chance of this happening is high in the first weeks after the procedure. Sometimes your symptoms cause you to be hospitalized. Certain things limit you from having the procedure because the risks are too high. Any upper respiratory infection puts you at too high of a risk. If you have bleeding disorders, you also may not be able to do the procedure. If you have had recent changes in asthma medication, the doctor wants to monitor that first and make sure you are stable. You also cannot undergo the procedure if you have had an asthma attack in the last 14 days before the procedure.
There are many benefits to the procedure. There is a 32% decrease in asthma attacks after the procedure according to Bronchial Thermoplasty by Boston Scientific. Besides that, many people see an improvement in their asthma symptoms. The results are long lasting. Improvements last for up to 5 years. There are fewer ER visits for asthma attacks. There are also fewer days being lost at work and school. The procedure does not require any incisions, which makes it non-invasive. There is also no need for recovery. You will probably notice some changes in breathing, but you do not have to wait for an incision to heal. You do not have to sit in a hospital for days. It is an outpatient procedure, and unless there are complications, you can go home right away.
Bronchial Thermoplasty is changing the way people are living with asthma. If you have asthma and have trouble controlling your attacks with medication, this may be the best procedure for you. You have to be over eighteen and not have any implanted devices inside of you. You also have to be new to the procedure to try it. If you tried it once before and it did not work, a doctor will not typically try it again. If you meet these criteria, talk with your pulmonologist about the procedure. It could be the best decision you make in treating your asthma.
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