Sat nav map of lungs created at Norfolk hospital in innovative fight against cancer

A screenshot of the navigational bronchoscopy. Photo: NNUH

A screenshot of the navigational bronchoscopy. Photo: NNUH - Credit: NNUH

A pioneering procedure has begun at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) to improve care for patients with suspected lung cancer.

The team after completing their first navigational bronchosopy at NNUH. Photo: NNUH

The team after completing their first navigational bronchosopy at NNUH. Photo: NNUH - Credit: NNUH

The hospital has become the first in the UK to establish a service with its own equipment to carry out navigational bronchoscopies, which is the medical equivalent of creating a sat nav map around a patient's lung to take a biopsy.

The procedure uses an ultrasound probe in conjunction with real time navigational equipment to take a sample of a patient's suspected tumour, which will enable hospital staff to diagnose the cancer.

The NNUH is leading the way after buying the state-of-the-art technology which is less invasive than other biopsy methods.

The first navigational bronchoscopy at the hospital with the new technology was carried out by consultants Ajay Kamath and Luaie Idris working closely with the trust's radiology department.

Ajay Kamath and Luaie Idris with the Radial EBUS equipment. Photo: NNUH

Ajay Kamath and Luaie Idris with the Radial EBUS equipment. Photo: NNUH - Credit: NNUH


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Dr Kamath said: 'We do a CT scan and identify the areas where we want to do a biopsy. We then reconstruct an image of the lungs, which creates a road map of the lungs and shows how we can reach the tumour.

'It is a less invasive procedure to get the biopsy and the risks of puncturing the lung are less. It will help us to do biopsies of more deep-seated tumours that are not accessible by a standard camera (bronchoscope).

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'By doing the biopsy we will be able to see what kind of cancer it is and the patient will receive the best treatment for that cancer. We have worked very closely with our colleagues in radiology to develop this service.'

The innovation was funded through the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Foundation Trust Charitable Fund.

Mark Davies, hospital chief executive, said: 'Congratulations to the respiratory medicine and radiology teams for this groundbreaking development using modern technology to improve patient care.

'Our staff are proud to work at a centre for complex and specialist medicine and this new procedure puts us at the forefront of this area of medicine.'

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