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Bronchial Thermoplasty: Boon to Severe Asthma Patients?

Encouraging results for the use of bronchial thermoplasty procedure were reported by the Research in Severe Asthma (RISA) Trial , at the annual scientific assembly of the American Thoracic Society (ATS) by Neil Thomson,MD, Professor of Respiratory Medicine, University of Glasgow, Scotland. This announcement came from Asthmatx, Inc., a medical device company that has developed a catheter-based procedure for the treatment of asthma.

Severe asthma patients who underwent bronchial thermoplasty showed significant improvements in asthma control, pulmonary function and quality of life. There was also lesser use of rescue medications. The novel, non-drug procedure is under clinical investigation in the United States.

The RISA Trial was conducted at a total of eight hospitals, in three countries, and evaluated the safety and efficacy of bronchial thermoplasty in 32 adult subjects with severe persistent asthma who remained symptomatic despite taking regular asthma medications.

Compared to patients who received only standard asthma medications, patients who received the bronchial thermoplasty procedure and standard medications showed clinically and statistically significant improvements in pulmonary function, quality of life, and asthma control, and used less rescue medication nearly 6 months following the procedure.

One year following the treatment, 50% of bronchial thermoplasty treated patients were able to wean completely off oral corticosteroids (OCS), compared to 14% of patients who did not receive the treatment. Further, a greater overall reduction in OCS dose was observed at 52 weeks in the bronchial thermoplasty treated patients compared with those that did not receive treatment at 52 weeks, although this difference didnt reach statistical significance. The study was not powered to show statistical significance in medication changes.

In this group of patients with severe asthma, an increase in respi
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