Martha Jefferson Monday: What is Bronchial Thermoplasty? - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Martha Jefferson Monday: What is Bronchial Thermoplasty?

Bronchial thermoplasty (BT) is a procedure that's used to help patients with severe asthma breath more easily. It's a minimally invasive procedure, performed over a series of three outpatient treatments. Bronchial thermoplasty allows doctors to reduce the amount of muscle that's found in the bronchial tubes, and therefore, hopefully lessen or eliminate asthma attacks.  

"When patients have exhausted their ability to use their inhalers, this is one way to try to help," said Dr. Alex Schult, a pulmonologist with Martha Jefferson Medical and Surgical Associates who performs the procedure at Martha Jefferson Hospital.  

When a patient comes in for BT, they are given sedative medications so they won't feel any discomfort. Then, a bronchoscope, or a small tube with a camera and light at the tip, is used to access the lung.  Once in place, a small amount of heat is applied to the wall of a patient's airway.  

"It's about the temperature of a warm cup of coffee and has been shown not to damage any nerves or the circulation within the lung in the bronchial tubes," commented Dr. Schult.  

The end goal is to help patients get back to work, maintain their routine, and avoid trips to the emergency department.  

"I hope that it can provide some relief for patients when there hasn't been anything available up until now that's new," said Dr. Schult.  

Dr. Schult is hosting a free community talk on treatment options for people suffering from severe asthma, including bronchial thermoplasty, on Thursday, May 2. For information, or to register, call Health Connection at (434) 654-7009.  

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Submit your questions now! Just click this link and write your question in the email. Then tune in every Monday morning during NBC29 News at Sunrise for Martha Jefferson Monday brought to you by NBC29 and Martha Jefferson Hospital.

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