Procedure Could Help Asthma Patients Breathe Easier

Heat applied to bronchial passageways during surgery

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Doctors at Texas Health Dallas are offering one of the newest techniques in the treatment of asthma the 45-minute procedure is called bronchial thermoplasty. (Published Thursday, Feb 7, 2013)

    A Dallas hospital is offering an innovative procedure that can change the daily life of people with asthma.

    Bronchial thermoplasty involves using radio frequency heat that is applied to the smooth muscles in the lung's bronchial passages. All of it is done in three different surgeries to eliminate unnecessary smooth muscles that trigger asthma attacks.

    "It [is] certainly the first therapy for asthma that's a nondrug therapy," said Dr. Gary Weinstein, a pulmonologist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.

    Twenty patients at the hospital have had the procedure since Weinstein and his team started performing the surgery.

    The chances of Virginia Rady having an asthma attack will dramatically reduce in part to the surgery.

    Rady, a newlywed, said she wants to start a family but is worried about the effect of taking her current medications while pregnant.

    She has dealt with asthma since she was a child.

    "I never got to do P.E. when I was younger, and the other kids made fun of me because of that," Rady said.

    But Weinstein said the procedure is not a miracle cure to asthma.

    "What we anticipate and hope is that we will get better control of their asthma symptoms and flares and appropriately reduce their medicine," he said.

    Rady encourages other people with asthma to look into the option.

    "It's going to be amazing not to worry about that anymore, to not have to take a ton of medication and be trapped by it," she said.

    Approximately 1,000 patients nationwide have had the surgery, including people who received it during clinical trials.