MANCHESTER, England – A female asthma patient in the UK was breathing easier after a breakthrough operation that burned away lung tissue blocking her airways, the Manchester Evening News reported Tuesday.
The operation, which is the first non-drug therapy for the condition, was carried out in under an hour at a hospital in Manchester, northern England, giving hope to millions of asthma sufferers worldwide.
The technique, known as bronchial thermoplasty, delivers specially-treated air into the lungs on tiny probes using a tube placed through the mouth. The probes emit radio waves, breaking down tissue thickened by asthma attacks.
The operation was so successful that surgeons hope to carry out more over the next few months, with other hospitals expected to follow suit.
Dr. Rob Niven, the chest physician who carried out the surgery at Wythenshawe Hospital, said, "Bronchial thermoplasty is the first non-drug treatment for asthma, and it may be a new option for patients with severe asthma who have symptoms despite use of drug therapies."
Asthma causes airways to the lungs to tighten and affects 300 million people worldwide.
During a yearlong global trial of the technique, sufferers showed a decrease in asthma attacks, an increase in days with no asthma symptoms and a reduction in inhaler use.