Asthma patients given new lease of life

Armen Hareyan's picture

The new Asthma treatment, called bronchial thermoplasty, was trialled by two Leicester patients in 2003 and both patients have since said it has reduced the severity and frequency of their asthma attacks.

In the new procedure airways are treated in half-hour treatment sessions, with up to three treatment sessions required to fully treat both lungs. The treatment is delivered via a bronchoscope and is designed to reduce the tendency of the asthmatic airway to narrow.

A report published in this week's New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), called 'Asthma Control during the year after Bronchial Thermoplasty,' says that the patients who took part in the trial at Glenfield Hospital demonstrated a significant:

  • decrease in asthma attacks
  • increase in the days with no asthma symptoms
  • improvement in quality of life
  • reduction in rescue medication use
  • improvement in asthma control

Rod Bailey, an asthmatic from Barwell, aged 60, was one of the first patients in Leicester to receive the treatment. He says the treatment has transformed his life. He says:


"It's given me my life back. I really don't think there's much difference now between me and other people.

Professor Ian Pavord, Honorary Professor of Respiratory Medicine in the Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation and consultant physician in respiratory medicine at Glenfield Hospital and principal investigator of the study in Leicester, says "These findings are very encouraging and are consistent with earlier trial results on bronchial thermoplasty. These results make us hopeful that the treatment may be a new option for asthma patients who have asthma symptoms despite use of current drug therapies."

  • Asthma is one of the most common diseases in the world. The prevalence of asthma has grown in recent decades and there is no cure. According to the World Health Organisation, up to 300 million people suffer from asthma in the world and asthma claimed 255,000 lives in 2005.

  • The Asthma Intervention Research (AIR) trial was a global trial, which included 112 patients between the ages of 18-65 at 11 centres in four countries.

  • The aim of the AIR Trial was to examine the efficacy and safety of bronchial thermoplasty as a treatment of asthma in patients, the majority of whom had severe asthma.