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Muscle thermoplasty breakthrough for severe asthma

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Severe asthma sufferers could be set to benefit from a new treatment after a hospital became the first in the UK to carry out a pioneering technique which can help patients breathe easier.

Bronchial thermoplasty - which sees heat used to “melt away” muscle in the airways which block air from getting through - had been shown in global clinical trials to hugely improve symptoms for asthma sufferers.

The University Hospital of South Manchester performed the first such procedure on the NHS on a middle-aged mother on Friday. Experts claims that patients with moderate to severe asthma can safely undergo the treatment.

Once a patient is sedated, a bronchoscope which carries tiny wires that emit radio waves and generate heat is threaded through the throat or nose. The muscle is heated to 149F (65C), while surrounding tissue is preserved.

Professor Ian Pavord, consultant physician at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester and Asthma UK chief medical adviser, said: “In some people with severe asthma, the symptoms of their asthma have been improved and the risk of them having an asthma attack has been reduced, so it is encouraging to see that the technique has now been carried out outside of clinical trials.”

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