New lung technology at St. Francis helps doctors determine lung cancer

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St. Francis unveils a new lung procedure that’s brand new for the Northeast Louisiana area. Before the technology came to Monroe, patients would have to drive to Shreveport, Baton Rouge, or New Orleans.

The new lung technology gives doctors the chance to help with diagnosing patients for lung cancer and other diseases without surgical intervention.

It uses a probe with an ultrasound and camera attached to see the patient’s airways to visualize lymph nodes and blood vessels.

“This is our tower that we use to do the procedure. Before ultrasound technology was available we would have never stuck a needle in through an airway into some of these structures.This reduces the need for a diagnostic surgery and allows us to get the diagnosis without having to have an open thoracotomy,” said Richard Kamm Jr., Pulmonary Critical Care Dr.

The endobronchial ultrasound known as EBUS gives patients a cheaper option for a potential biopsy.

“We can then see through the airway and determine where lymph node tissue is versus blood vessel tissue and as you can see in the picture here, this person has a lymph node here to biopsy and right next to it is the pulmonary artery,” said Kamm.

Using this machine takes a team of nurses and doctors to ensure a safe procedure for the patient.

“We have our endoscopy staff, our nurses and technicians that help us maintain sedation, and then we have our cytotechnologyst here from the pathology department and she allows us to look at our samples immediately after obtaining them so that we get a rapid assessment,” said Kamm.

St. Francis has used the machine a dozen times since the technology became available here in northeast Louisiana.

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