A new report published in the March 29 edition of New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) shows that patients treated with bronchial thermoplasty, the first non-drug treatment for asthma, demonstrated an overall improvement in asthma control.

Co-Principal Investigators, Gerard Cox, MB, FRCPCI, FRCPC respirologist at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health, and professor at McMaster University, and John Miller, MD, division head of thoracic surgery at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and McMaster University, authored the study. The study revealed improved asthma control at one year following the bronchial thermoplasty procedure.

The publication titled, “Asthma Control during the Year after Bronchial Thermoplasty,” showed that patients treated with bronchial thermoplasty, compared to another group that did not receive the procedure, showed significant positive changes such as: decreases in asthma attacks, increases in days with no asthma symptoms, improvement in quality of life, reduction in using medication, and an improvement in asthma control.

“These findings are very encouraging and are consistent with earlier trial results on bronchial thermoplasty,” explains Cox. “These results make us hopeful that bronchial thermoplasty may be a new option for asthma patients who have asthma symptoms despite use of current drug therapies.”

Several years ago, Miller began limited bronchial thermoplasty procedures in patients who were scheduled to have lung surgery. “We saw that this particular way of treating the airway had a profound effect on the smooth muscle and not much else,” Miller said. “The amount of smooth muscle is significantly reduced by thermoplasty, and we recognized that this procedure might therefore be an appropriate treatment for people with asthma. I’m quite pleased to say that our experience suggests that the bronchial thermoplasty procedure is quite well-tolerated, and it holds considerable promise for patients with asthma.”