Monday, May 29, 2023 | 08:03 am

At Baptist Health Hardin, ‘Life-Changing’ Technology Is About to Be Installed

At Baptist Health Hardin, ‘Life-Changing’ Technology Is About to Be Installed

A new technology that allows for earlier detection and treatment of lung cancer will be available to patients at Baptist Health Hardin in the near future.

The new procedure, called a robotic bronchoscopy, allows pulmonologists to reach small lung lesions in the far outreaches of the lungs, said Rita Pardee, assistant vice president for surgical services at the hospital.

This allows the patient to get diagnosis when the lung lesions is a stage 0 or stage 1, she said. Whereas, (otherwise), the lung lesion might grow to stage 2, stage 3 or even stage 4 in some cases before the patient is even aware that they have symptoms or lung cancer. It allows the patient to get staged earlier, to get treated earlier.

Pardee said early detection and treatment is critical.

“The thing with lung cancer is, the sooner you can get to it, the faster you can treat it, the better outcome that patient has, she said.

Using an ultra-thin, flexibile tube with a camera in it, going in the nose or mouth and through narrow airways in the lung to the lesion, the catheter can move 180 degrees in all directions and can navigate through the lungs to reach nodules in any airway segment, news release on the new technology said. Once the nodule is reached, the catheter is locked into place, and a needle collects tissue from the mass or nodule.

The procedure is outpatient and minimal. It will be performed under anesthesia in one or two hours, Pardee said.

The robotic approach is also beneficial for those with other health concerns such as severe lung disease or active smoking, both of which can increase infection risk or other rare complications associated with more traditional biopsy options, the release said. This technology will have a big impact on lung cancer patients, Pardee said.

“It’s exciting,” she said. “It’s going to be one of those things that truly will be life changing for some patients.”

She said they’re hopeful to begin conducting procedures in April.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of death among men and women in the United States, the release said. There are no symptoms in the early and most curable stages of the disease. With early detection and prompt surgical treatment, the cure rate is 92%.