Leading the Way in Applying Minimally Invasive Techniques in Thoracic Surgery

lung during a bronchotomy surgeryFor years, general thoracic surgery was largely associated with open procedures such as thoracotomy, sternotomy and laparotomy. Minimally invasive techniques have steadily gained traction since the early 1990s, particularly for smaller procedures like wedge resection and pleural biopsy.

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Reevaluating Treatment Guidelines for Surgically Resected, N1-Positive Stage II NSCLC

doctor looking at imaging in computer

Stage II non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) represents less than 10 percent of the approximately 234,000 cases of lung cancer diagnosed each year in the United States. Due to its relatively low incidence, not many papers have been published on stage II NSCLC. Furthermore, few clinicians have extensive experience treating it.

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Using ECMO as a Bridging Strategy to Lung Transplant

working ecmo machine in intensive care department, closeup oxygenator

The Lung Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital hosts the largest, and one of only two, lung transplant programs in New England. Through its use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), the center is improving the outlook for patients with end-stage lung disease who otherwise would be considered too sick for transplant.

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A Multidisciplinary Approach to Controlling Severe Asthma

Senior woman on medical exam

About 24.7 million Americans live with asthma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Patients with severe asthma comprise 10 to 15 percent of this figure, said pulmonologist Elliot Israel, MD, co-director of the Severe Asthma Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. And yet, he added, caring for this segment of asthma patients accounts for over half the cost of asthma care.

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New Option for Severe Emphysema: One-Way Valves to Reduce Lung Volume

Adding to the care options for patients with advanced emphysema, the Lung Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital now offers a new procedure to place one-way endobronchial valves into the airways of a diseased lobe. The valves offer the symptom relief of lung reduction without the risks of surgery.
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Discovering the Genetic Blueprint Behind Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Edwin Silverman, MD, PhD, is a pioneer in studying how genetics impact COPD risk. His team, which includes leading researchers such as Craig Hersh, MD, MPH; Dawn DeMeo, MD, MPH; Michael Cho, MD, MPH; Peter Castaldi, MD; and Xiaobo Zhou, PhD, generated findings that could have profound implications for the future of COPD treatment.

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Female, 30-years-old, Short of Breath: Could It Be LAM?

CT scan of LAM

The first-time patient at the Center for LAM Research and Clinical Care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital was typical: A female in her 30s, she had experienced dyspnea on exertion, unusual chest discomfort and fatigue for years. The otherwise healthy former athlete had seen multiple physicians, who ruled out cardiac issues and prescribed asthma meds, but symptoms persisted. When a CT scan was ordered for a suspected pulmonary embolus, none was found. But the scan revealed the real problem: Lung destruction that is characteristic of lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM). Read More

Minimally Invasive POEM Succeeds for Achalasia and Other Esophageal Disorders

stent illustration for POEM

Motor disorders of the esophagus present a rare but serious challenge. But experience with Per-Oral Endoscopic Myotomy in the comprehensive esophageal practice at the Lung Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital is showing benefits for its initial use in achalasia and for other motor disorders.

Jon O. Wee, MD, the section chief for esophageal surgery and co-director of minimally invasive thoracic surgery in the Division of Thoracic Surgery, was an early adopter of POEM and one of the first in New England to perform the procedure. He has performed more than 60 POEM procedures at Brigham and Women’s since 2013.

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New Modeling Shows Surprising Cumulative Risk of Lung Cancer among Non-Smokers

How can clinicians in the office setting identify non-smoking patients who are at risk of lung cancer – and therefore may be candidates for low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) imaging?

That question has been a focus of Michael Jaklitsch, MD, a thoracic surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center. Jaklitsch is a long-time leader of initiatives and research in lung cancer screening and surveillance and co-creator of an online risk calculator. Read More

Hepatitis C-Infected Hearts and Lungs Safely Transplanted

As the number of patients in need of heart or lung transplants continues to exceed the number of donor organs that are viable and available, many patients die while waiting for a transplant. Through the DONATE HCV Trial, a team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital is expanding the donor pool by enabling transplantation from hepatitis C-infected donors.

In a recent publication in the New England Journal of Medicine, a multidisciplinary team of experts from Brigham and Women’s Hospital reported a 100 percent success rate for transplant recipients who received lungs or a heart infected with hepatitis C (HCV).

Six months after transplantation, patients remained hepatitis C free and had functioning transplanted organs. The trial showed that a four-week antiviral treatment regimen started immediately following organ transplantation prevented HCV infection in all patients and led to excellent outcomes. Given the success of the trial, enrollment continues.

The DONATE HCV Trial is the largest clinical trial to date for HCV thoracic organ transplantation. “If even half the other centers in the United States were to adopt the Brigham protocol, we would, in fact, shorten the time to transplantation by nearly half,” says Mandeep Mehra, MD, medical director of the Heart & Vascular Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The team has enrolled 69 participants to date.

In the above video, hear more from the investigators pioneering this trial, including: