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Bronchial Thermoplasty

Bronchial thermoplasty (BT) is a treatment method for adult patients with severe or persistent asthma. It is done in three outpatient procedures at least three weeks apart: one for each lower lobe of the lung and another for both upper lobes. Patients are sedated for these treatments.

Bronchial thermoplasty uses a bronchoscopically-introduced catheter (thin scope through the nose or mouth into the lungs) to deliver precisely-controlled thermal (heat) energy to the airways. It is meant to treat the increase in thickness of airway smooth muscle from chronic airway inflammation.

The most common side effects from BT are coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

Most individuals ages 18 years and older with uncontrolled, moderate-to-severe, persistent asthma should not undergo BT to treat asthma because the benefits are small, the risks are moderate, and the long-term outcomes are uncertain. Some people with moderate-to-severe persistent asthma who have troublesome symptoms may be willing to accept the risks of BT and, therefore, might choose this intervention after shared decision-making with their health care provider.

Learn more about BT