This site is intended for health professionals only

'Pioneering' therapy treats asthma

A pioneering procedure, which could improve the symptoms of asthma sufferers, has taken place at a hospital in the UK.

The bronchial thermoplasty procedure was carried out at the University Hospital of South Manchester.

The first person to receive the treatment on the NHS was a middle-aged mother from Manchester.

The therapy involves the muscle that is blocking the airway being melted away with heat.

The patient will have been sedated and a bronchoscope is threaded through the nose or throat, and into the lungs.

It carries tiny wires with probes that emit radio waves and generate heat.

The muscle is heated to 149F (65C), while surrounding tissue is preserved.

Clinical trials of the treatment have been carried out globally, including in Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle, Leicester, Birmingham and London.

Experts believe the procedure is safe and suitable for patients with moderate to severe asthma.

Professor Ian Pavord, consultant physician at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester and Asthma UK Chief Medical Adviser, said: "In some people with severe asthma, the symptoms of their asthma have been improved and the risk of them having an asthma attack has been reduced, so it is encouraging to see that the technique has now been carried out outside of clinical trials.

"However this kind of procedure will not work for everyone, so we would encourage people with asthma to discuss various treatment options with their GP to find the best way for them to keep their asthma managed and under control."

Copyright Press Association 2011

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"This seems a logical therapy. A similar type of procedure is used to treat A.F. very successfully within the pulmonary veins. It will probably be finessed the more it is used" - Paula Williams, UK