Medical Insight : Bronchial Thermoplasty – Essentia Health

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , /

some people, nothing is more relaxing
than a walk outside. But for the two
million Americans suffering from severe asthma,
it’s no walk in the park. Pollen, mold, cold air, and more
can trigger an asthma attack with difficulty breathing,
coughing, and wheezing. Now there’s more hope for
severe asthma attacks, a new procedure called
bronchiothermoplasty. DR. KAROL KREMENS: It’s a really
nice, nice new procedure that changes their life basically. TRACY BRIGGS: Dr.
Karol Kremens is an interventional pulmonologist
at Essentia Health in Fargo. He says Essentia
has been working to become the first
provider in North Dakota to offer
bronchiothermoplasty or BT. To understand how it
works, you must first understand what
happens with asthma. During an asthma attack
the bronchial tube lining swells causing air waves
to narrow reducing airflow in and out of the lungs. Most people with asthma
can control symptoms with medication. But for those that
can’t, there’s BT. Dr. Kremens says during
BT, they insert a tube with a camera called
a bronchioscope and use a catheter to heat up
air waves to the temperature of a warm cup of coffee. DR. KAROL KREMENS:
That heat disrupts the airway smooth muscle
that surrounds the airway, and the disruption over
time thins the muscle and disrupts how it’s linked
with itself so that it no longer has the
same capability to squeeze the airway tight. TRACY BRIGGS: Kremens says
the procedure has provided great results for patients. DR. KAROL KREMENS:
The first gentleman was able to shovel snow for
the first time in many years, because, yes, he
still has asthma, but now it no longer
provokes such a severe asthma exacerbation. So yeah, they’re
doing really good. TRACY BRIGGS: Dr. Kremens says
bronchiothermoplasty patients will not be cured
of their asthma. Most will remain on at
least some medication. But studies do show
BT patients will be doing better after
a year and have fewer visits to the emergency room. With this Essential
Health Medical Insight, I’m Tracy Briggs.

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