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VA Boston Healthcare System


Asthma and Bronchial Thermoplasty

An estimated 25 million people in the U.S. suffer from asthma, a respiratory disease that causes the airways in the lungs to narrow and makes it difficult to breathe. For some, this condition can significantly impact their quality of life and, in some cases, can be life threatening. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), asthma accounts for approximately 44,000 asthma attacks, 4,700 emergency room visits, 1,200 hospitalizations and 9 deaths every day in the U.S. An estimated 5-10% of asthma patients are considered to be severe. People who suffer from severe persistent asthma usually experience asthma symptoms throughout the day on most days and have frequent symptoms at night as well.

Doctors perform a Thermoplasty Procedure in an operating room. Doctors and Nurses work stand around a patient while watching the Computer Monitor displaying the imagery inside the patients lungs.

An innovative asthma treatment called Bronchial Thermoplasty is has proven to show an improvement in quality of life for severe asthma patients and is available at the VA Boston Healthcare System by pulmonologist Dr. Ting-hsu Chen. Bronchial Thermoplasty (BT) is not a medication, it is a safe outpatient procedure that uses mild heat to actually reduce the amount of excess airway smooth muscle tissue in the airways. Less muscle tissue means less airway constriction during an asthma attack. Patients can breathe more easily—and are less likely to have an asthma attack. Unlike daily asthma medications, BT continues to work for years. BT is an add-on therapy to a patient’s current asthma medications, providing long-lasting benefits for patients, including a decrease in asthma attacks, fewer emergency room visits and improved asthma-related quality of life.

In a clinical study of patients with severe asthma, 79% of patients treated with Bronchial Thermoplasty (BT) saw a significant improvement in their asthma-related quality of life. In addition, patients treated with BT experienced:

32% fewer severe asthma attacks
84% fewer asthma-related emergency room visits
66% fewer days lost from work, school, and daily activities due to asthma symptoms

Lasting benefits: Improvements in quality of life and days lost due to asthma symptoms were followed for one year. Reductions in asthma attacks and emergency room visits were shown to extend through a 2-year follow-up period.

As with any procedure, there are risks, and individual results may vary. The most common side effect of BT is temporary worsening of respiratory-related symptoms. This side effect typically occurs within a day of the procedure and resolves within 7 days on average with standard care. Bronchial Thermoplasty is approved by the FDA for the treatment of severe persistent asthma in patients 18 years and older whose asthma is not well controlled with inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta-agonists. For more please visit

New Patient information

We provide Veterans with advice and care for asthma and encourage Veterans, families and primary care providers to contact us 7 a.m. - 9 p.m. EST @ 857-203-6478 to schedule a consultation for asthma with Dr. Ting-hsu Chen.

Contact Info


  • West Roxbury, Building 1, Ground Floor

Contact Number(s)

  • 857-203-6478

Hours of Operation

  • 7 a.m. - 9 p.m.