Carolinas HealthCare System

Lung Conditions and Treatment Options

Carolinas Medical Center - Mercy treats many forms of lung conditions and offers many treatment options.

Lung Cancer

A multidisciplinary team of specialists from pulmonary medicine, medical oncology, thoracic surgery, radiation oncology, diagnostic radiology and pathology review each lung cancer case. The multidisciplinary team provides a consensus opinion regarding the diagnosis and treatment options for the patient.

When appropriate, the latest diagnostic techniques, including positron emission tomography (PET) and pleuroscopy, are employed. State-of-the-art treatment options include participation in experimental clinical trials, video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS), chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and rigid brochoscopy with Nd:YAG laser resection, tracheobronchial stenting and brachytherapy.

Sleep Disorder Breathing and Chronobiology

Sleep DisorderThe impact of sleep disorders on a person's general health is becoming more evident. Physicians use a range of diagnostic tests to evaluate and treat a variety of sleep problems. Typically, patients suffer from sleep apnea, weakened breathing muscles, asthma symptoms that worsen during sleep or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Physicians, nurses and other professionals who are trained to appropriately diagnose and treat sleep-related problems are involved in sleep studies. A typical sleep study measures the amount of air the patient breathes during sleep, the effort required to breathe, cardiac rhythm, brain waves, muscle tone and blood oxygen levels.

Patients with sleep-disordered breathing are treated with a wide range of therapies. Noninvasive ventilatory support, including nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), is employed on a case-by-case basis. Other therapeutic options may include oxygen, weight control/reduction, and/or timing of medication. Physicians are also skilled in performing sleep apnea surgery, including uvulopalatopharyngoplasty - the surgical resection of excessive tissue in the back of the throat.

Get Some Sleep! Sleep isn't just "time out" from daily life. Sleeping is an active state, essential for renewing mental and physical health daily. Over 100 million Americans regularly fail to get a good night's sleep as a result of a sleep disorder. Sleep disorders can lower a person's quality of life and reduce personal health. Read more about sleep issues (PDF).

Obesity and Cardiopulmonary Fitness

ScaleThe Lung Center is equipped with the most advanced technology to define the metabolic status of patients who suffer from obesity. Excess weight can seriously compromise cardiopulmonary function. Metabolic tests can assess a patient's calorie requirements and fuel oxidation patterns. With this information, our team can determine appropriate treatment, including nutritional therapy.

Cardiopulmonary fitness tests are also part of the diagnostic services available. Patients with occupational lung disease, asthma and other respiratory problems can undergo exercise testing to evaluate their cardiopulmonary physiology.

Environmental and Occupational Lung Disease

Many lung disorders can be caused by or worsened by workplace exposures. Certain dusts, organic compounds and even low molecular weight pollutants have been associated with specific pulmonary diseases. Other diseases, such as asthma, may be worsened by workplace exposures.

We are capable of identifying these problems. In addition, very precise assessments of impairment can be diagnosed through breath-by-breath analysis during activity using a metabolic cart. Inhalation challenge testing is also performed on patients to determine their level of sensitivity to airborne irritants.

Interstitial Lung Disease

The Lung Center is very fortunate to have physicians who specialize in interstitial lung disease (ILD), which is a general term used to describe a variety of chronic lung disorders. ILD is also referred to as pulmonary fibrosis and interstitial pulmonary fibrosis. While the actual incidence of ILD in the United States is difficult to determine, it has been estimated that ILD accounts for 100,000 hospital admissions each year and represents 15 percent of patients seen by pulmonologists nationwide.

ILD can be very difficult to diagnose and treat. The Lung Center has the expertise and resources available for diagnostic consideration such as blood tests, pulmonary function tests, bronchoalveolar lavage, radiology such as chest x-rays and CT scans, lung biopsy, and bronchoscopy. Once the diagnosis has been made, the treatment team develops an individual treatment plan and monitors the patient closely. The team also investigates new treatment approaches and drugs and participates in clinical trials.

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