Minimally Invasive Lung Treatments

Advanced Interventional Pulmonary Program
John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital
250 E. Dunlap Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85020
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John C. Lincoln's Advanced Interventional Pulmonary Program provides a wide range of advanced minimally invasive lung treatments to diagnose and treat lung conditions. These lung treatments include:

LungPoint Virtual Bronchoscopic Navigation

Images above are seen during a bronchoscopic needle biopsy guided by LungPoint navigation. At left is video of bronchial tubes. At center is a computer animation of bronchial tubes based on a CT chest scan. The pink circle identifies suspicious tissue to be biopsied. The blue line is the path to follow to the biopsy site. On right are alternate routes.

North Mountain Hospital is the first medical facility in America to use LungPoint, an advanced system for navigating pulmonary airways to plan and guide bronchoscopic procedures and nonsurgical biopsies in the lungs.

Finding an appropriate route through the airways has long been a challenging aspect of bronchoscopy. To solve this problem, LungPoint looks at the lungs and airways in three dimensions. Its planning software is used in conjunction with high-resolution CT chest scans to accurately locate tumors in the lungs and mediastinal lymph nodes.

LungPoint works much like a GPS navigation system. It offers physicians three alternate routes to reach suspicious tissue masses, resulting in more effective treatment planning.

When a best approach to a tumor has been selected, LungPoint system renders a virtual path through the airways — an animated journey — that is registered with video images provided by the bronchoscope. This onscreen guide shows which airways to follow.

As a result, physicians can perform needle biopsies to harvest samples of suspicious tissue without major surgery. LungPoint therefore makes biopsies much safer, and patients recover much more quickly.

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Endobronchial Ultrasound

Endobronchial ultrasound is a groundbreaking diagnostic technique that enables physicians to "see" through lung tissue to check for lung cancer and other conditions. Using a bronchoscope attached to an ultrasound wand, the physician can view the patient's bronchial tubes and identify tumors, or other suspicious tissue, growing outside the bronchial tubes in the lungs. Physicians are much more able to pinpoint the exact location of tissue that needs to be harvested for biopsies.

Patients benefit from improved effectiveness and safety in the biopsy of central chest lesions. Likewise, the procedure enables rapid initial diagnosis and staging for patients with lung cancer.

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Transbronchial Needle Aspiration (TBNA)

Through transbronchial needle aspiration (TBNA), doctors obtain samples of lung tissue or fluids, as well as surrounding lymph nodes, without requiring conventional surgery. These samples can be used for diagnosing and staging lung cancer, detecting infections and identifying inflammatory diseases that affect the lungs, such as sarcoidosis.

TBNA can be performed in combination with LungPoint virtual navigation and endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS). Assisted by these highly specialized imaging technologies — which provide real-time images of airway surfaces, blood vessels, lungs and lymph nodes — doctors now can access more, and smaller, lymph nodes for biopsy with the aspiration needle.

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Argon Plasma Coagulation

As an alternative to laser surgery, argon plasma coagulation (APC) uses high-frequency electrical currents to coagulate and vaporize abnormal tissue from the tracheal and central airways. Argon gas is released through the tip of a probe, and then ignited by an electrical current. This forms an electrical arc, which can be "painted" over the lesion, in a back-and-forth motion. As the arc destroys diseased tissue, the probe does not make contact with lung tissue.

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Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Diagnosis

Pulmonary arterial hypertension diagnosis is another state-of-the-art diagnostic procedure available at the Advanced Interventional Pulmonary Program. If untreated, pulmonary hypertension can be debilitating and potentially fatal.

Using advanced diagnostic techniques, doctors can determine whether patients have high blood pressure in their pulmonary arteries, a condition that cannot be tested with standard blood pressure cuffs. Doctors also use this diagnostic procedure to determine the appropriate medications for treatment of high blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries.

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Minimally Invasive Bedside Pulmonary Procedures

Minimally invasive procedures performed at the bedside in the inpatient unit eliminate the need for the patient to be transported to an operating room. Percutaneous tracheotomies, and tracheal and bronchial stent placements, can be done quickly with minimal inconvenience to the patient.

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