A study, led by investigators from NMPCE, has reported evidence for the efficacy of bronchial thermoplasty (BT), a novel non-pharmacological therapy intended for people with severe asthma, in routine UK clinical practice. It is the largest real-world study of BT to date, and followed 133 patients who were treated at one of the 11 UK centres which offered the procedure.
The research study was in collaboration with authors from Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Queen’s University Belfast and the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Details of patients, procedures and outcomes were recorded by participating centres into the UK Severe Asthma Registry, an existing national data collection framework which was extended to include information about BT. Patients were followed for up to 24 months.
The study found that patients reported a mean improvement in a quality of life measurement specific to asthma, which was consistent with similar findings from experimental clinical trials. There was no deterioration in a lung function measurement (FEV1; forced expired volume in 1s) following BT, and there was a significant reduction in hospital admissions at 24 months follow-up. But improvements were not observed in all patients and further investigation will be required to understand better which patients benefit most from BT, and why. It follows an earlier study, using the same registry, which showed that BT was being used safely in the UK.
Collecting real-world evidence is important to confirm that results of earlier clinical trials, which may involve carefully selected participants, translate to routine clinical practice in the NHS. The NMPCE team has been involved with several national data collection studies in this area of work.