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New Imaging Technology at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southwest Fort Worth Helps Doctors Treat Lung Abnormalities|
FORT WORTH, Texas — Pulmonologists on the medical staff at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southwest Fort Worth are among the first in the Fort Worth area to use a new type of bronchoscopy that provides a window into the far reaches of complex lung structures, helping improve diagnoses of lung cancer, pneumonia and various pulmonary infections.
Using GPS-like technology, Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy (ENB) generates three-dimensional images that provide a virtual “roadmap” deep into the lungs. This simple, minimally-invasive procedure enables pulmonologists to maneuver a catheter through multiple branches of the bronchial tree to reach, view and biopsy lesions of interest.
Traditionally, a patient with a suspicious spot on the lung had the options of major surgery to remove a section of the lung, standard bronchoscopy (which has limited reach into the blood vessels and airways of the lungs and chest cavity), needle biopsy, or what doctors refer to as “watchful waiting.”
“Most lesions beyond the view of standard bronchoscopy were further investigated with more invasive procedures associated with potential complications, such as a collapsed lung, which some patients could not tolerate,” said Dr. David Maldonado, pulmonologist on the medical staff at Texas Health Southwest. “This new technology allows us to more safely investigate the origin of disease deep within the lungs with less impact on the patient, leading to earlier diagnosis and treatment in some cases.”
After the patient’s lung CT scan is imported into a system computer, physicians can generate a three-dimensional image of the lungs. The physician marks the patient’s anatomical points and targets lesions, seen on previous X-rays, on the virtual images generated by the computer system.
With this roadmap, the physician then plans the path the system’s steerable catheter will navigate. The catheter contains a location sensor at its tip that allows 360 degree maneuverability through the bronchial tree. The system provides physicians with a real-time position of the catheter within the lungs. Endobronchial tools are inserted through the guide catheter and used to collect tissue samples to determine if they’re cancerous or caused by infection or other pulmonary disease.
The procedure is typically performed in an outpatient setting, and patients return home the same day.
“There’s a big need for a reliable diagnostic tool that’s minimally invasive for patients but still provides quality analysis of tissue deep in the lungs,” Maldonado said. “This system is a major step in that direction.”
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