BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 November 2006, 11:41 GMT
Thermal sessions may help asthma
A new treatment for people who suffer with asthma is being tested by researchers at a hospital.

Glenfield Hospital in Leicester is using thermal energy therapy to help sufferers breathe easier.

Researchers hope the bronchial thermoplasty will help reduce the severity and frequency of attacks.

The heat treatment, delivered with a bronchoscope, is designed to reduce the tendency of the muscles in the asthmatic airway to constrict.

The hospital is appealing for volunteers who suffer from asthma to take part in the trial.

Fewer attacks

Asthma sufferer Rod Bailey, who lives in Barwell, said: "It's given me my life back. I don't think there's much difference now between me and other people."

He said before the treatment he struggled to climb stairs and was using his inhaler 12 times a day.

Airways in the lung become inflamed during an asthma attack and then narrow when muscles within the airway walls contract.

The procedure sees airways treated in half-hour sessions, with up to three sessions required to fully treat both lungs.

This could have a significant impact on how we manage patients with asthma in the future
Professor Ian Pavord

The heat treatment burns the muscle which is responsible for causing the airways to close down.

Researchers believe the treatment is effective for months if not years.

Professor Ian Pavord, consultant physician in respiratory medicine at Glenfield Hospital, said: "Thermal energy is applied to the airway through this procedure to alter the ability of the muscle in the airway walls to constrict.

"Less constriction in the airways may result in a reduction in the severity and frequency of asthma attacks.

"This could have a significant impact on how we manage patients with asthma in the future."

Call to scrap the term 'asthma'
25 Aug 06 |  Health

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific