Thousands of patients with hard-to-control asthma could be helped by a new radical experiment. Called bronchial thermoplasty, wires are actually guided inside the lungs to essentially burn off some of the tissue that blocks their ability to breathe.
"People still get very sick from asthma. People still die of asthma. You'd think we'd have better control, but it seems to be escalating rather than going down. We have a real potential here... to influence a very common disease," said Dr. Simoff.
Repeated asthma attacks thicken muscle so airways can become narrowed, and this causes the muscle to become even more sensitive to asthma triggers. Bronchial thermoplasty may get rid of half of that muscle to enable the airways to act more normal.