New NHS operation hope for thousands of asthma sufferers

A new life-changing procedure is to be offered on the NHS to people with severe asthma.

Campaigners say the state of the art treatment blasting pulses of radio frequency energy to the airway wall could bring hope to “thousands” of patients in the UK.

The treatment called bronchial thermoplasty has been shown to help more sever cases of the condition which causes inflammation of the airway walls where drugs do not work.

Joe Farrington-Douglas, head of policy at charity Asthma UK, said: “Making this treatment available to more people could offer much-needed hope to thousands of people in the UK who have severe asthma.

“This debilitating form of asthma is resistant to regular treatments, meaning many have to cope with terrifying asthma symptoms, such as gasping for breath, as well repeated trips to A&E. Every asthma attack is life-threatening.”

Bronchial thermoplasty reduces the smooth muscle mass lining the airways, decreasing their ability to constrict. If successful it can reduce the severity and frequency of severe asthma attacks.

Professor Kevin Harris, programme director at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), said: “This is a procedure which is innovative and it does work.

“If you are frequently admitted to hospital with severe asthma which cannot be controlled with drugs, this is a procedure which people may wish to consider after discussions with their clinician.”

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