One of the newer bronchoscopic procedures being used at the clinic is endobronchial ultrasound for diagnosing bronchogenic carcinoma, Dr. Elstad said. “We’ve essentially eliminated a need for mediastinoscopy,” an invasive surgical procedure, for evaluation of the disease, he said.
Explore This IssueJune 2010
He also talked about the use of intrabronchial valves for treating emphysema patients. It’s been found that if the volume of the lung is reduced by removing the upper lobes, some patients will feel and perform better. But that’s an expensive and often morbid procedure.
So a trial is underway, with the airway clinic participating, to assess intrabronchial valves that self-expand and contract, redirecting air to healthier tissue. The trial is looking at patient satisfaction and survival rates, Dr. Elstad said.
Dr. Smith said collaborating with doctors in other specialties is as simple as going ahead and doing it. “All I can suggest if you’re interested to pursue a type of a model like this is to look around you and find appropriate colleagues to develop expertise in and just start seeing patients together,” he said.
Andrew Blitzer, MD, DDS, president of the ABEA, who introduced Drs. Smith and Elstad, said the center is doing things the right way. “We shouldn’t be locked into our specialties,” he said. “It should serve as a paradigm that we can’t be specialty-specific, but we have to be patient-specific.”