Jefferson Health

Bronchial Thermoplasty

If severe persistent asthma is affecting your life despite taking daily controller medications and requiring frequent reliever medication use, Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia is offering a new nondrug outpatient procedure that has shown to increase asthma control and improve quality of life.

What Does Bronchial Thermoplasty Involve?

Bronchial thermoplasty, performed by specially trained pulmonologists at Jefferson, delivers radiofrequency energy (or heat) to the airway walls in the lungs to reduce excess airway smooth muscle and limit the muscle's ability to constrict the airways – and help you breathe better.

This outpatient procedure is routinely performed under moderate sedation and typically takes about one hour. Following the procedure, you will be monitored for 2 to 4 hours and discharged home the same day.

To treat the entire lung, the complete bronchial thermoplasty procedure is performed in three outpatient visits, each scheduled approximately two to three weeks apart.

What are the Benefits and Risks of Bronchial Thermoplasty?

Although not a cure or replacement for current asthma medications, patients treated with FDA-approved bronchial thermoplasty have experienced:

  • Reduced severe asthma attacks
  • Decreased visits to the ER and hospital for respiratory symptoms
  • Reduced hospitalization for respiratory symptoms
  • Less time lost from work, school and other daily activities due to asthma

The most common risks associated with this procedure involve the short-term worsening of respiratory-related symptoms immediately following the procedure, which are typically resolved within one week with standard treatment.

Why Choose Jefferson for Bronchial Thermoplasty in Philadelphia?

As bronchial thermoplasty does not cure asthma, you will still require asthma care. Jefferson offers comprehensive asthma management in addition to bronchial thermoplasty.

Am I a Candidate for Bronchial Thermoplasty?

You may be a candidate for bronchial thermoplasty if you are:

  • An adult 18 years or older with severe persistent asthma
  • Symptomatic despite taking combination of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) and long-acting beta agonists (LABA) to control your asthma
    • Have been on oral steroids three times in the last year for exacerbations
    • Have been hospitalized for asthma exacerbation
    • Have had a life-threatening asthma exacerbation
  • Able to safely undergo a bronchoscopy procedure

You cannot have bronchial thermoplasty if you:

  • Have a pacemaker, internal defibrillator or other implantable electronic device
  • Have a known sensitivity to medications required to perform bronchoscopy, including lidocaine, atropine and benzodiazephines
  • Have previously been treated with bronchial thermoplasty

Call 215-955-1672 to determine if you are a candidate for bronchial thermoplasty or would like further information.