UAB launches comprehensive interventional pulmonary program

UAB has created the only comprehensive interventional pulmonary medicine program in Alabama to better diagnose and treat lung and chest diseases.

joseph thachuthara georgeJoseph Thachuthara-George, M.D.The University of Alabama at Birmingham has created a multidisciplinary program in interventional pulmonology. It is the only comprehensive and cohesive 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, developed within the past 15 years, using endoscopy and other methods to diagnose and treat lung and chest diseases. One of the major focuses of the field is lung cancer.

“The program provides a complete approach to treating a variety of lung and pleural diseases, including cancer and central airway obstruction,” said Hitesh Batra, M.D., assistant professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine with the UAB School of Medicine and director of the program. “We are unique in that we have the facilities and expertise to offer the full range of interventional pulmonology procedures and provide comprehensive and expedited diagnosis, treatment, management of complications and thorough follow-up care.”

Among the procedures offered are 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.

hitesh batra 2017Hitesh Batra, M.D.“We see virtually 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 additional benefits from access to UAB’s other outstanding medical disciplines, such as thoracic surgery, radiation oncology, radiology and pathology.

“Patients with confirmed or suspected lung malignancies are immediately assessed by our UAB Tumor Board, which meets regularly to follow the progress of cancer patients,” Batra said. “Not a day goes by that we aren’t in conversation with our counterparts in surgery or oncology.”

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, M.D., is co-director of the program. Other pulmonary physicians involved are Mark Dransfield, M.D., Veena Antony, M.D., Gerald Belopolsky, M.D., and Jennifer Trevor, M.D.

For appointments, call Jessie Daniels at 205-934-7679 or the UAB Mist line at 800-UAB-Mist (800-822-6478). Go to the interventional pulmonology website for more information.