New York Methodist Hospital Debuts Interventional Pulmonology

Oct 11, 2006

Health Topic: Pulmonology

New York Methodist Hospital has joined a select group of institutions nationwide that provide interventional pulmonology, a relatively new field offering diagnosis and treatments for airway disorders from cancer or benign causes and pleural diseases. NYM is currently the only hospital in Brooklyn capable of providing wide-ranging options for treating and diagnosing abnormalities in the lungs. Interventional pulmonology is a minimally invasive procedure that offers an alternative to traditional surgical techniques. Taking advantage of many state-of-the-art technologies, interventional pulmonologists are able to perform a variety of diagnostic, therapeutic and palliative procedures. These include stenting and laser therapy for patients with lung cancer who experience complications associated with airway obstruction; endobronchial ultrasound, a real-time fine needle aspiration to stage lung cancer; electromagnetic navigation to guide biopsy instruments to small lesions in the lungs for sampling; and other modalities to relieve airway obstruction caused by benign lesions such as polyps or scar tissue.

Another technique, termed autofluorescence bronchoscopy, helps detect early changes of lung cancer in the airways. "Through this new technology, physicians are able to detect small lesions or cancerous changes in airways that are almost unrecognizable with traditional white-light bronchoscopy," said Suhail Raoof, M.D., chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine at NYM. "Offering interventional pulmonology services at NYM allows patients the ability to undergo several minimally invasive, diagnostic procedures without the trauma of surgery," he said.

The unique procedures come to the Hospital with the staff addition of Arthur Sung, M.D., recently named director of interventional pulmonology at NYM. Dr. Sung joins NYM after completing his fellowship in interventional pulmonology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. While there, he trained under Armin Ernst, M.D., one of the world's leading practitioners in the field of interventional pulmonology. "Many people who have undergone traditional treatment options in the past but have had minimal results, are able to enjoy a greatly improved quality of life after undergoing an interventional pulmonology procedure," said Dr. Sung. With interventional pulmonology, patients have a low risk of complications, experience rapid symptomatic relief and are often able to go home the same day as the procedure.

Because the services are performed on people with a wide variety of health conditions, interventional pulmonologists work closely with oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, thoracic surgeons and other health professionals to determine the best route of care for each patient. ìIn many cases, a multidisciplinary approach is the most beneficial option for a patient and so part of my job is to act as a coordinator to provide the highest quality of care to each patient," said Dr. Sung.

Interventional pulmonology is especially beneficial for patients with lung cancer, a disease that is on the rise in Brooklyn. Patients suffering from lung cancer often experience blockages in their airways which cause significant shortness of breath and can also limit patientsí ability to undergo chemotherapy or radiation. "Because interventional pulmonology services are often performed on an outpatient basis, patients are more functional after the procedure and thus have an easier time continuing with and tolerating their cancer therapy," said Dr. Sung.

Along with providing interventional pulmonology services to NYM patients, the Hospital will also begin conducting cutting edge research in this field. "Adding interventional pulmonology to the already strong division of pulmonary and critical care medicine at NYM helps put the Hospital on the map of excellence in this specialty," said Dr. Raoof.

For more information on interventional pulmonology services at New York Methodist Hospital, please call 718-780-5835.

Two doctors looking at brain scans

Director of interventional pulmonology at NYM, Arthur Sung, M.D., right, discusses a case with Suhail Raoof, M.D., chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine. NYM is the only hospital in Brooklyn to offer interventional pulmonology to patients suffering from pulmonary disorders including lung cancer.