Asthma is mainly treated with drugs and complemetary therapies, but another option is to heat up the lungs.
Bronchial thermoplasty is a new treatment option that was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in April 2010. It has since been used at the University of California, Davis, as well as other areas in the US, Canada and the UK.
The treatment involves a small, flexible bronchoscope with four thin wires and a tiny camera on the end being inserted into the lungs. The bronchoscope is directed to asthma-sensitive areas, using images projected onto a monitor.
The wires then expand, heating the tissue to around 65° C. This reduces the amount of smooth muscle tissue present in the airway walls, which are usually replaced with connective tissue.
A full treatment course takes three sessions, each of which lasts less than an hour. “Because the lung lining is forever changed, the hope is that this can be a long-term fix for severe exacerbations,” UC Davis Associate Professor Nicholas Kenyon said in a statement.
Submitted by Masud Kabir via Facebook.
Got a burning science question?
Send us your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org