New pulmonology service offers more options for veterans with respiratory problems
The Pulmonary Department at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center is now offering a new minimally invasive interventional pulmonology service to treat veterans with respiratory problems.
The Pulmonary Department is using advanced technology to resolve a wide variety of breathing issues in patients with lung cancer and diseases that cause airway obstructions.
The new techniques include argon plasma coagulation, which applies heat to destroy tumor tissues or stop bleeding; cryotherapy, which freezes tissue; and microdebrider bronchoscopy, which uses a rotating blade to cut and remove tumors.
“Our bronchoscopy suite is fully equipped now," said interventional pulmonologist and bronchoscopy laboratory director Roberto Casal, M.D. "The interventional pulmonology service that we assembled provides the highest level of care possible within this new field. We have developed a great team of dedicated respiratory therapists, nurses, anesthesiologists, pathologists and pulmonologists. The combination of advanced procedures we perform are not available at any other VA in the country.”
Casal was trained in interventional pulmonology from MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Among the new technological procedures is electromagnetic navigation and endobronchial ultrasound, which allows doctors to navigate the patient's airways and remove lung nodules.
“Without this treatment, many patients with airway blockages would have to stay in the hospital because they would be unable to breathe without high-oxygen supplements, and even morphine assistance, to relieve their feeling of suffocation,” said Casal. “With the therapeutic treatments the interventional pulmonology service offers, we are able to non-surgically remove blockages in the windpipe and return patients to their homes to be with loved ones.”
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