With the growing prevalence and seriousness of pulmonary disease, along with better diagnostic procedures, Via Christi Clinic has expanded its Pulmonology department to six physicians.
“Over the past two years, we’ve added four new physicians to the practice,” says Abed Abu-Samra, MD, department Chair, who joined the clinic in 2014.
The other three are Dennis Oyieng’o, MD; Youssef Yammine, MD; and Raid A. Awwad, MD. Richard Claiborne, MD, FACP, and Mark Wencel, MD, continue with the practice.
The group’s growth reflects Via Christi’s interest in providing patients with board-certified physicians trained in the latest diagnostic technologies, such as endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) and navigational bronchoscopy, Dr. Abu-Samra says.
“We also provide inpatient pulmonary critical care services and serve as intensivists, managing patients on mechanical ventilation and those who are critically ill,” he says.
One of the newer technologies used by the practice is EBUS. This minimally invasive procedure allows the pulmonologists to sample central areas in the lung and lymph nodes in the chest using ultrasound guidance to help diagnose and stage cancer, as well as detect and determine infections and inflammatory diseases.
EBUS, which is similar to a bronchoscopy, also allows for a better diagnosis. The procedure can assist in differentiating a positive test on a CT chest or PET scan, whether it is cancer, infection or inflammation, Dr. Abu-Samra says.
Another benefit of EBUS is that it allows better visualization of lymph nodes. In the past, the alternative was surgery. With EBUS, no incision is necessary; the special endoscope fitted with an ultrasound processor and a fine-gauge aspiration needle is guided through the patient’s trachea. The procedure is performed in an outpatient setting.
Another new diagnostic procedure is navigational bronchoscopy, which Dr. Abu-Samra says is like a bronchoscopy with GPS. This procedure is used when a CT scan reveals a hard-to-reach lesion. A navigational catheter, a technology that combines electromagnetic navigation with real-time 3-D CT images, extends the reach of the bronchoscope, providing access to difficult-to-access spots.
The group’s physicians are also part of a multidisciplinary team of Via Christi and community physicians who provide their expertise in making recommendations to at-risk patients who have a positive screening for lung cancer through Via Christi’s Cancer Outreach and Risk Assessment program. The team, which also includes radiologists, thoracic surgeons, oncologists, and clinical trial and nurse navigators, provides its perspectives and recommendations on a positive screening to the patient’s referring physician.
Via Christi Clinic Pulmonology is located at 3311 E. Murdock St. in Wichita. Call 316-274-8325 or visit viachristiclinic.com for more information.