Diagnosing lung conditions such as cancer, tuberculosis and tumours could soon become a simple, non-surgical, daycare procedure with a more accurate diagnosis than the current procedure.
So far, biopsy or tissue testing to diagnose suspected cancerous or TB affected lymph nodes in the lung and chest area has been done using a process called bronchoscopy, which lowers a probe with a needle catheter from the mouth into the airways that connect to the lungs.
The needle is then used to collect a tissue sample from the suspected area by reading a CT scan. With this technique, it’s not always possible to know whether the inserted needle actually punctured the targeted lesion or not.
Now, the Fortis Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi, has introduced a new real time diagnostic procedure called the CP EBUS (convex probe endobronchial ultrasound), which is a flexible bronchoscope with an ultrasound tip.
The hospital claims it’s the first such real time procedure in Western India. So far, the Kovai Medical Centre and Hospital in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, has been the only one in the country to offer the endobronchial ultrasound procedure.
“A needle is passed through this ultrasound device and it can be visualised as an ultrasound image. So the exact location of the lymph node or lesion that you want a tissue sample of can always be confirmed. The accuracy rate of this procedure in diagnosis is 97 per cent,” said Dr Prashant Chhajed, head of the pulmonology department, Fortis Hiranandani Hospital, who developed the procedure along with a team of researchers at Chiba University, Japan in 2002.
The bronchoscope also has the Doppler mode that helps detect blood vessels and aids in avoiding their accidental puncture when the needle is being used.
The procedure is useful, adds Chhajed, as it will help avoid misdiagnosis of patients.
Apart from the advantage that the procedure has with biopsy of small bronchial lymph nodes that are not easily accessible, there isn’t much that differentiates it from conventional bronchoscopy, according to Dr Sujit Rajan, consultant chest physician, Bombay Hospital.
“For standard growths and tumours seen in the airways, this procedure offers no added advantage in diagnosis,” said Rajan.