HOUSTON (January 22, 2015)

Innovative treatment may provide better day-to-day breathing, higher quality of life for people who suffer with severe asthmaMemorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center now offers bronchial thermoplasty, a novel treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for asthma. Asthma patients who received bronchial thermoplasty during clinical trials demonstrated significant improvement in their asthma symptoms, as well as a reduction in the number of severe asthma flare-ups and emergency department visits.

“Bronchial thermoplasty uses mild heat to reduce the amount of excess smooth muscle tissue in the airways,” said Bhakti Gidvani, MD, FCCP, D'ABSM, a Memorial Hermann Memorial City affiliated physician who is board certified in internal medicine, pulmonary diseases and sleep disorders. “Less muscle tissue means less airway constriction during an asthma attack. As a result, the majority of treated patients can breathe more easily and are less likely to have an asthma attack.”

Bronchial thermoplasty is done in three separate outpatient treatments a few weeks apart, with each treatment focusing on a different section of the lungs.

“This is a revolutionary treatment for severe asthma and we are seeing long-lasting sustainable benefits for patients,” added Kiran Nair, DO, pulmonary diseases specialist affiliated with Memorial Hermann Memorial City. “Bronchial thermoplasty simultaneously decreases the number of severe asthma attacks, reduces the number of ER visits resulting from respiratory related symptoms and increases a patient’s quality of live overall, with fewer days lost from work, school, and other activities due to asthma symptoms.”

In a study funded by Boston Scientific, bronchial thermoplasty was shown to reduce severe asthma attacks and improve asthma control; however, it does not cure asthma or replace current asthma medications. Patients still need to see an asthma physician to manage the condition.

Asthma is one of the most common and costly diseases in the world. The prevalence of asthma has grown in recent decades, and there is no cure. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, more than 20 million Americans have asthma, and managing asthma consumes more than $18 billion of health care resources each year. In the U.S., asthma attacks result in approximately 10 million outpatient visits, 2 million emergency rooms visits, 500,000 hospitalizations, and 4,000 deaths in any given year.

Located in the heart of west Houston, Memorial Hermann Memorial City has served area families since 1971. With more than 1,000 affiliated medical staff, 1,800 employees and 426 licensed beds, the hospital boasts state-of-the-art facilities designed to enhance its nationally recognized health care services while adding to the comfort of patients and families. For more information on Memorial Hermann Memorial City, visit our website or call (713) 222-CARE (2273).