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Asthma treatment could help 200,000 who are battling severe form of it

A new ‘life-changing’ procedure for patients with severe asthma was approved yesterday for routine use on the NHS, offering hope to thousands.

Watchdog NICE gave the green light for bronchial thermoplasty, a radical treatment which heats up the airways to control asthma symptoms.

The treatment, which costs about £7,000, was previously available only under ‘special arrangements’, meaning strict criteria applied about who was eligible. 

But it has now been approved for anyone with severe asthma that cannot be controlled with inhalers or steroid medication.

A new ‘life-changing’ procedure for patients with severe asthma was approved yesterday for routine use on the NHS, offering hope to thousands. Watchdog NICE gave the green light for bronchial thermoplasty, a radical treatment which heats up the airways to control asthma symptoms. (File image)

Of the 5.4million people who have asthma in the UK, there are roughly 200,000 suffering from the severe form.

However, NICE stressed it is still down to individual NHS health boards to decide whether to provide the treatment. 

Professor Kevin Harris, of NICE, said: ‘This is a procedure which is innovative and it does work.

 ‘For people with severe asthma, this procedure could be life-changing.’

Professor Kevin Harris, of NICE

‘If you are frequently admitted to hospital with severe asthma that cannot be controlled with drugs, this is a procedure which people may wish to consider after discussions with their clinician.

‘For people with severe asthma, this procedure could be life-changing.’

The procedure works by sending pulses of high-powered radio waves to heat the airway wall. 

Carried out over three sessions under general anaesthetic, the treatment reduces the smooth muscle mass lining the airways, decreasing their ability to constrict. 

It can only be performed on adults and must be performed in specialist centres with on-site access to intensive care.

Joe Farrington-Douglas, of the charity Asthma UK, said: ‘We are now calling on the NHS to recognise the importance of severe asthma treatments and ensure local health bodies fund them.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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