Pulmonary care in Clay County

At Orange Park Medical Center, we are committed to improving the lives of our patients with chronic respiratory conditions, including lung cancer. Our facility is equipped with special technology and surgical tools to detect lung cancer and identify the stage of cancer. We also perform non-invasive pulmonary tests to assess how well the lungs are working. This helps us identify chronic breathing problems and connect patients with our pulmonary rehabilitation team to improve daily function and quality of life.

Are you experiencing prolonged respiratory symptoms or breathing problems? If so, we can help you find a pulmonologist at Orange Park Medical Center when you call our Consult-A-Nurse® team at (800) 889-3627.

Diagnostic pulmonary testing

Patients coming to our hospital have access to a variety of pulmonary tests used to assess lung health and function. We use pulmonary function tests to provide measurable feedback on numerous lung functions to determine how well the lungs are working. Pulmonary function tests are essential in diagnosing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We also perform pulmonary exercise stress tests, which allow us to determine how well the lungs, heart and muscles work together when put under stress.

If a chronic breathing problem is identified, our physical therapy and rehabilitation program offers pulmonary rehabilitation to improve the overall quality of life and well-being of patients with respiratory conditions.

Detecting and diagnosing lung diseases

Many lung conditions require advanced imaging and special procedures to confirm a diagnosis. Sometimes, certain areas of the lungs may be hard to reach via traditional imaging or a more complex procedure is needed to accurately stage lung cancer. Our pulmonologists use the latest in diagnostic lung technology and work in our dedicated bronchoscopy suite to accurately diagnose lung diseases.

Bronchoscopy

Bronchoscopy is a medical procedure where a physician uses a thin, lighted tube—called a bronchoscope—to examine the major air passages and lungs. This procedure is used to evaluate the lungs and collect small tissue samples to confirm a lung disease or lung cancer diagnosis.

In addition to biopsies, bronchoscopies help our doctors retrieve specimens that have become lodged in the airways. A bronchoscopy may be used as a tool when our pulmonologists are performing airway stentings, thoracostomies and pleuroscopies.

Our hospital has a dedicated bronchoscopy suite where we perform diagnostic procedures and treatments for lung conditions using a bronchoscope inserted via the nose or mouth. The bronchoscope allows our doctors to identify any foreign bodies, tumors, bleeding or inflammation in the airways or lungs. The suite is equipped with a dedicated pathology station where we can examine tissue samples.

3D navigational robotic bronchoscopy

While a traditional bronchoscopy is a commonly performed procedure, it does have limitations. It cannot reach the distant regions of the lungs, resulting in the need for a more invasive procedure to form diagnoses. To solve this problem, our hospital now offers 3D navigational robotic bronchoscopy, which allows our doctors to access those hard-to-reach areas of the lungs using minimally invasive technology.

When an imaging exam identifies an abnormality on a distant part of the lung, like a lesion, an additional diagnostic procedure is needed to form a diagnosis. Lesions may be caused by infection, inflammation or cancer. Forming an accurate diagnosis is crucial for our patients. That's why we use the 3D navigational robotic bronchoscopy to biopsy lung tissue earlier than what's possible with a traditional bronchoscopy.

How the procedure works

3D navigational bronchoscopy is performed as follows:

  • First, the physician locates the identified lung lesion via X-ray, computed tomography (CT) scan or positron emission tomography (PET/CT).
  • Next, if a traditional bronchoscopy is deemed unable to reach the outer regions of the lungs, your doctor may decide on 3D navigational robotic bronchoscopy for a minimally invasive approach to reaching the lesion.
  • The CT scan taken of the lungs will be loaded into advanced computer software, which develops a virtual 3D roadmap of the lungs. The physician uses the roadmap to mark targeted areas and uses the map to determine the route for navigation to reach that area of the lungs.
  • Once the targeted area is identified, the doctor uses a unique set of catheters—placed within a bronchoscope—with 360 degree steering capabilities to reach the lesion. An electromagnetic sensor is also used to help the doctor track the exact location of the catheters in the lungs.
What patients can expect

3D navigational bronchoscopy is an outpatient, minimally invasive procedure. To begin, the patient will lie down on a low-frequency electromagnetic bed. Then the doctor will pass a bronchoscope—fitted with the special catheters—through the mouth, throat and windpipe and into the lungs. The electromagnetic sensors in the bed allow the doctor to view a real-time, 3D map of the lungs to assist in reaching the targeted lesion.

Once the lesion has been reached, the steering catheters will be removed. Then, surgical biopsy instruments are passed through the bronchoscope to collect the tissue sample. Following the procedure, patients are observed until they are awake enough to return home.

Benefits of 3D navigational robotic bronchoscopy

3D navigational robotic bronchoscopy may also be used for patients experiencing poor lung function who are not candidates for a more invasive form of diagnostic bronchoscopy. It benefits patients by:

  • Creating a 3D virtual roadmap of the lungs for extreme precision in navigating toward targeted lesions in the lungs in a minimally invasive manner
  • Detecting lung cancer and lung disease in their earliest stages, often before symptom onset
  • Providing an option for more patients with higher risk factors, such as those with poor lung function and people who have undergone surgery for cancer, chemotherapy or radiation therapy

Computerized tomography (CT) scans

Our hospital's 64-slice CT scanner is very beneficial for screening and diagnosing lung conditions. CT scans are often used to:

  • Follow-up imaging of a suspicious lung lesion (spot)
  • Screen patients who are at a high risk for lung cancer
  • Stage lung cancer

The CT scanner is a doughnut-shaped machine with X-ray capabilities. The machine takes multiple X-ray images as it rotates around a patient. We use computer software to combine these images and create a 3D, cross-sectional image of the area of the body being scanned.

CT scans can produce images of bones, soft tissues and blood vessels, which makes it possible to detect diseases earlier than what's possible with a traditional X-ray. Our advanced scanner produces high-quality images in a short amount of time.

Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS)

EBUS is a diagnostic tool used for precise determination of a patient's lung cancer stage. This minimally invasive approach allows a doctor to pass a bronchoscope with an ultrasound-equipped tip through the mouth and down the windpipe. Many patients evaluated via EBUS can forego a more invasive diagnostic procedure.