Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Virginia, USA, has said it will be the first hospital in the country to perform a new procedure, the Alair Bronchial Thermoplasty System, to be conducted on 6 May 2010, for severe asthma patients.

The Asthma Intervention Research 2 (AIR2) Trial was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the Alair System, which demonstrated improved quality of life, considerable reductions in asthma attacks, ER visits and hospitalisations for asthma patients.

Patients aged 18 years or more, who suffer from severe persistent asthma that is not well controlled with inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta agonists, the current standard-of-care treatments, will be eligible for the procedure.

Dr David R Duhamel, director of the Pulmonary Special Procedures Unit and the Lung Cancer Center at Virginia Hospital Center, was one of the principal investigators on the AIR2 Trial.

“This definitive intervention provides a long-term benefit to adult asthma patients and significantly improves the quality of life for those suffering from this chronic condition,” said Dr Duhamel.

“We are honoured to be the first hospital offering this revolutionary new procedure to adults suffering with severe asthma in the DC Metro area,” he added.

The Alair Bronchial Thermoplasty System was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).