By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal health advisers are recommending a
novel technology from Asthmatx be approved as the first non-drug
treatment for asthma.

The Food and Drug Administration's panel of respiratory device
experts voted 6-1 that Asthmatx's Alair System be approved under
certain conditions, including long-term tracking of patients.

The company's procedure, called thermoplasty, uses extreme heat
to burn away lung tissue that makes it difficult to breath and
causes coughing spasms and wheezing. The heat is delivered via a
catheter that emits radiofrequency waves, dissolving excess muscle.

While roughly 20 million people in the U.S. suffer from asthma,
thermoplasty would only be appropriate for about 2 million adults
who don't get relief from existing drugs.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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