What is bronchial thermoplasty?

Bronchial thermoplasty is a minimally invasive treatment for severe asthma. The procedure helps to open up the lungs by reducing the amount of muscle around the airways, so that the patient can breathe more easily.

What happens in bronchial thermoplasty?

The treatment involves a bronchoscopy. The respiratory consultant inserts a special catheter (a thin, flexible tube) down the windpipe into the lungs. Then they use a heated device at the end of the catheter to ablate the smooth muscle in the airways, which makes it easier to breathe. Patients usually require three separate treatments.

This treatment improves asthma control and symptoms.

What to expect during a bronchial thermoplasty procedure?

In this report from broadcaster Al Jazeera, Dr Elizabeth Healey follows a patient with severe asthma who goes to Royal Brompton Hospital for bronchial thermoplasty treatment from Professor Pallav Shah.

Benefits of bronchial thermoplasty

At Guy’s and St Thomas’ Specialist Care, we offer this very specialist bronchial thermoplasty treatment to patients with severe asthma.

Asthma causes the lining of the airways to become inflamed and swollen, narrowing the airways over time, making it harder to breathe. When asthma is severe, this inflammation can eventually cause thickening of the smooth muscle tissue in the airways. The narrowed airways make it harder for air to pass through them.

Patients require a detailed assessment to check if bronchial thermoplasty treatment is right for them. It is suitable for people who are already taking all the medication that they can be prescribed, but are still having symptoms.

With this treatment, patients experience improved asthma symptoms, so that means they can reduce or even eliminate the steroid medication that they take. Indeed, the treatment can benefit patients for up to 10 years.

Meet our team of dedicated respiratory specialists

Meet our team of leading respiratory medicine specialists. From lung health to advanced interventions, our specialists are here to provide you with personalised care.