NICE approves new treatment for severe asthma for NHS use

3 September 2018 (Last Updated November 26th, 2018 11:09)

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has approved the new procedure, called bronchial thermoplasty, offered to adults with severe asthma for wider use on the NHS network.

NICE approves new treatment for severe asthma for NHS use
Nice offering Bronchial thermoplasty treatment for severe asthma patients. Credit: NICE 2018.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has approved the new procedure, called bronchial thermoplasty, offered to adults with severe asthma for wider use on the NHS network.

In its draft guidance, NICE noted that the procedure is safe and can reduce the severity and frequency of attacks.

It will be offered to patients with asthma that cannot be controlled with inhaler medication.

“The independent committee recommends this procedure to be carried out under standard arrangements and will take place only in specialist centres with intensive care.”

Asthma is a long-term condition that causes inflammation and constriction of the smooth muscle in the airway walls with symptoms such as recurring episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest-tightness and coughing.

The treatment involves the application of short pulses of radiofrequency energy to the airway wall under sedation or general anaesthetic.

It needs two sessions over a period of three weeks intervals to complete.

Bronchial thermoplasty is said to lower the ability of the airways to constrict by removing the smooth muscle mass lining them and reduce the severity and frequency of severe asthma attacks.

NICE interventional procedures programme director and clinical advisor Kevin Harris said: “If you are frequently admitted to hospital with severe asthma which cannot be controlled with drugs, this is a procedure which people may wish to consider after discussions with their clinician.

“Asthma is a common disease and the vast majority of patients won’t require this treatment. But for people with severe asthma this procedure could be life-changing.

“The committee was convinced it was safe enough and works well enough for use with standard arrangements in the NHS.”

Additionally, the independent committee recommends this procedure to be carried out under standard arrangements and will take place only in specialist centres with intensive care.