Ive been getting a lot of email lately from people asking me if I’m gonna have the new Bronchial Thermoplasty procedure done. The answer is No. Unfortunately, my asthma is too severe even for the thermoplasty ,which is being touted as a treatment reserved for the most severe form of asthma …go figure. Actually, I don’t have a lot of the reactive smooth muscle in my larger airways that Thermoplasty targets. Most of my airway narrowing takes place deep down in my lungs in the smaller airways, where they cant reach with this device.
Hopefully this new treatment will help a few people, but I’m not convinced that this is the magic bullet that we’ve all been waiting for. It also seems that the company’s definition of “very severe asthma”, is somewhat different than my own. Ironically, I was denied entry into the clinical trials phase of this new procedure back in 2006, because my asthma was deemed “too severe” by the study investigators.
People with very severe chronic asthma usually have a fair amount of scarring, and some have less twitchiness in their large airways. It would seem to me, that this new procedure has a better chance of success on those individuals who have mild to moderate persistent asthma, whose primary problem is spastic airways and who don’t have a lot of airway remodeling. Although in both cases, inflammation can play a significant role in asthma and its symptoms. Bronchial thermoplasty is not known to do anything to inflammation.
Even if I was a suitable candidate for the procedure, I’m not really sure I’d want to have it done. There just hasn’t been enough research on it in the real world, and any scientific proof that it actually works, is marginal at best. Now that this device is approved for use in the US, I think it would be wise to wait a while and see what the outcomes will be like.