A new drug-free treatment has been found to benefit patients with severe, uncontrolled asthma, say researchers.
Asthmatx Inc has developed a device called Alair Bronchial Thermoplasty System, which has led to significant improvements in quality of life and reductions in asthma attacks and emergency room visits for patients who underwent the treatment.
The devices heat the walls of the lung's air passages to reduce the amount of muscle tissue and potentially inhibit narrowing of the airways.
"One of the reasons I find this treatment exciting is that many patients with severe asthma are already taking the best drug therapy we have and are still experiencing debilitating symptoms," says the study's lead U.S. investigator, Dr Mario Castro, a Washington University pulmonary specialist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
"This device provides a meaningful new treatment for such patients," he added.
During the study, the researchers compared bronchial thermoplasty to standard medical care for moderate to severe asthma.
The trail showed that the device reduced asthma exacerbations and provided more symptom-free days than standard care.
The treated group had an average 32 percent reduction in the rate of severe exacerbations and 84 percent fewer visits to the emergency department for respiratory symptoms compared to the sham group.
"It was clear that the treatment did benefit most patients who received it," said Castro.
The findings were presented at the international conference of the American Thoracic Society in San Diego.