UAB has created a multidisciplinary program in interventional pulmonology. It is the only comprehensive program covering all facets of interventional pulmonology in Alabama, and one of only about 25 in the nation.
Interventional pulmonology is a relatively new concept in pulmonary medicine, using endoscopy and other methods to diagnose and treat lung and chest diseases.
"The program provides a complete approach to treating a variety of lung diseases, including cancer and central airway obstruction," said Hitesh Batra, MD, assistant professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine with the UAB School of Medicine and director of the program.
The program offers the full range of interventional pulmonology procedures including flexible and rigid bronchoscopy, electromagnetic navigation guided bronchoscopy, airway stents, photodynamic therapy, bronchial thermoplasty, and pleural biopsy.
The program is designed to rapidly see patients who are referred to UAB, make or confirm a diagnosis, and commence treatment in a short time frame.
"We see all patients within a week of receiving a referral, and if needed, therapy is usually delivered within a two-week span," Batra said.
The program offers access to UAB's other medical disciplines, such as thoracic surgery, radiation oncology, radiology and pathology.
"Patients with confirmed lung malignancies are immediately assessed by our UAB Tumor Board, which meets regularly to follow the progress of cancer patients," Batra said.
The program will also be engaged in clinical research efforts to find new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to lung disease, as well as serving to train the next generation of pulmonary physicians.
Joseph Thachuthara-George, MD is co-director of the program. Other pulmonary physicians involved are Mark Dransfield, MD, Veena Antony, MD, Gerald Belopolsky, MD, Jennifer Trevor, MD and Surya Bhatt, MD.