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New Procedure Offers Promise To Adults With Asthma

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A patient undergoes bronchial thermoplasty at National Jewish Health (credit: CBS)

A patient undergoes bronchial thermoplasty at National Jewish Health (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – A new procedure offers promise for adults with severe asthma. It’s the first non-drug treatment to help sufferers breathe easier. The treatment, bronchial thermoplasty, can be found at National Jewish Health.

It’s for adults who take oral medications, use inhalers and nebulizers, and still have symptoms like shortness of breath and wheezing.

Studies show, after the procedure, many life-long asthma sufferers feel better.

In the procedure, a doctor guides a device with electrodes on its tip down the airways of a patient. The electrodes are expanded and heated with radio-frequency energy.

It shrinks the muscle, which creates a larger opening for breathing.

“I wouldn’t go so far to say it’s a cure for asthma,” said Dr. Ali Musani.

But 79 percent of patients showed significant improvement in their quality of life.

“I will never be without asthma, but if I can get back to where I was and keep that up, I’ll take that,” said asthma sufferer Neville Richter.

The procedure costs $10,000 – $15,000 and is not covered by most health insurance policies because it is so new.

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