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Program offers minimally invasive diagnoses and treatment for chest diseases
Pulmonary diseases of the lungs, airways and pleura (membranes around the lungs) are common, chronic and often deadly. Lung cancer, for instance, is diagnosed in more than 200,000 people in the United States each year, and is by far the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an umbrella term that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, affects an estimated 24 million people in the U.S. and is the third-leading cause of death. Asthma, though not often life-threatening, can be debilitating. It affects an estimated 25 million people in the U.S., 7 million of them children. And pleural effusions, for which there are more than 50 known causes, are diagnosed in about 1.5 million people in the U.S. each year.
To diagnose and treat patients with these conditions, UCLA’s Interventional Pulmonology Program offers an expanding list of minimally invasive procedures, most of which are performed in an outpatient setting. Patients receive the most advanced and comprehensive clinical care while benefitting from shorter recovery times as compared to open surgery.
A less-invasive way of diagnosing pulmonary diseases
Abnormal diagnostic images — those showing a pulmonary nodule, enlarged lymph nodes in the chest, or an accumulation of fluid, called pleural effusion — are some of the most common reasons patients seek care through the UCLA Interventional Pulmonology Program.
UCLA’s Interventional Pulmonology Program is one of only a few in the country to offer comprehensive interventional pulmonology services. Navigational bronchoscopy and endobronchial ultrasound enable physicians to access all parts of the chest to biopsy abnormal areas using a minimally invasive approach. For pleural disease, the program offers the full range of interventional procedures, including ultrasound-guided drainage and sampling of pleural effusions, tunneled pleural catheter placement, and medical pleuroscopy with biopsies and pleurodesis.
The program also provides comprehensive evaluation and treatment of large-airway diseases, including both malignant and benign central-airway obstruction and tracheobronchomalacia.
Minimally invasive treatments for pulmonary diseases
Some of the most rapid advancements in interventional pulmonology are occurring in the area of therapeutic applications. Minimally invasive treatments currently available at UCLA include placing airway stents to treat obstructions, airway-wall weaknesses and fistulas; bronchial thermoplasty to target the airway’s smooth muscles and prevent asthma exacerbations; heat therapies (laser, argon plasma coagulation and electrocautery), cold therapies (cryospray and contact cryoprobe), and bronchoscopic brachytherapy to treat airway tumors or stricture; and tunneled pleural catheters to drain fluid accumulation from around the lungs. The program is also examining bronchoscopic lung-volume reduction valves, which can help those with advanced COPD breathe more easily.
A new specialty that continues to expand
Interventional pulmonology is a new and constantly evolving field. Physicians in the UCLA Interventional Pulmonology Program have received the most advanced training, ensuring that they are able to perform the latest, most innovative procedures with the highest level of skill.
To best meet patients’ needs, the program includes distinct sub-programs in thoracic oncology, complex airway diseases and pleural diseases. Each of these sub-programs is set up to allow physicians from multiple disciplines to work together and deliver individualized treatments to each patient.
Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
200 UCLA Medical Plaza, Suite 365-B Los Angeles CA 90095
(310) 825-8061 phone (310) 794-9718 fax
Pulmonary Sleep Clinic
1223 16th St., Suite 3400 Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310) 449-0939 phone (424) 259-7790 fax
Westwood Clinic Administrator
Santa Monica Clinic Administrator
Interventional Pulmonologist in Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine 2023-2024 (Open Recruitment): https://recruit.apo.ucla.edu/JPF08553