How Interventional Pulmonology is Helping to Tackle the Issue of Respiratory Diseases?
Traditional medical therapies designed to treat respiratory ailments have proven to be insufficient in handling the huge burden on the global healthcare sector. Moreover, these traditional therapies are complex and involve major invasive procedures which prevent patients from opting for these diagnostic and treatment methodologies. Interventional pulmonology, through its minimally invasive techniques, offers an effective solution to handling the burden of pulmonary diseases.
The Covid-19 pandemic has inadvertently brought the study of pulmonary medicine into limelight. For years now, pulmonary medication has been a subject of intensive research and analysis. In its initial years, this field of research was rather isolated and ignored from mainstream medical studies; however, with rising prevalence of respiratory diseases like bronchitis, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and asthma, the need to invest time and money in pulmonary medicine research was felt. As a result, apart from the private sector, governments across the globe, too, started implementing initiatives and schemes specifically targeted to counter the incidence of these diseases and develop medical therapies to tackle the problem. Interventional pulmonology, a rather nascent medical therapy, is a result of these efforts.
What is Interventional Pulmonology and How Does it Address Modern Pulmonary Diseases
One major issue with respect to traditional medical therapies related to treating pulmonary or respiratory ailments has been that they involve complex medical surgeries and invasive procedures. Naturally, patients suffering from these diseases are apprehensive about undergoing such operations which is why patients refrain from even diagnosing the problem. Interventional pulmonology, on account of being a set of minimally invasive medical procedures, is considered by medical practitioners and health professionals as a potential gamechanger in the field of pulmonary medicine.
Interventional pulmonology is a medical procedure that relies on endoscopic techniques for diagnosis and treatment of chronic lung ailments such as lung cancer, bronchitis, tracheal cancer, etc. The non-invasive nature of this procedure is proving to be a success in two ways- it is efficient in early and accurate diagnosis of the ailment and secondly, it has introduced a behavioral change among people wherein they are now more open to discuss their health issues and undergo therapy to neutralize the disease. This growing awareness among the people about respiratory diseases and increasing trust on interventional pulmonology has been two biggest reasons behind the growth of the global interventional pulmonology market in such a short time span.
Patients opting for interventional pulmonology generally undergo a series of medical procedures like bronchoscopy, airway ablation, pleuroscopy, balloon dilation, etc. Among these, bronchoscopy is the most common procedure wherein small cameras, sensors, and surgical tools are used with the help of a bronchoscope to look for internal bleeding, tumors, and blockages in lungs. In some cases, lung fluids and tissues are also collected which are then tested for various ailments. Once diagnosis is done, this same methodology also allows doctors to treat problems like blockages by placing stents in lungs through the bronchoscope. In certain cases, the blockage isn’t too big for stents to be placed; in such scenarios, doctors recommend what is known as airway ablation or balloon dilation. While both these procedures are similar in their objective of expanding the narrow airways of the lungs, the tools used in both these therapies are somewhat different.
Interventional pulmonology also involves a therapy devised specifically for asthma patients; bronchial thermoplasty, as the asthma relief therapy is called, delivers thermal energy to bronchial airways which relaxes the lungs muscles and aids the patient to breathe more easily and comfortably. It has been seen in various medical cases that lung diseases are generally caused due to the lungs’ inability to drain the lung fluids regularly. As a result of this, lung fluids start accumulating in the air sacs which in the later stages cause massive infection. Pleuroscopy, another important component of interventional pulmonology, offers an effective solution to this medical problem. By placing a long-term tunneled catheter, pleuroscopy clears the lung tissues by draining all the lungs’ fluid and restoring the breathing ability of the patient.
The Bottom Line
Interventional pulmonology has surely been a decisive step in treating respiratory problems and has introduced a paradigm shift as far as pulmonary medicine is concerned. In the last few years, due to various reasons ranging from environmental pollution to lifestyle habits like smoking, the prevalence of respiratory ailments like asthma has increased manifold. Up until now, traditional respiratory therapies were proving to be insufficient in handling the huge burden of these respiratory diseases. With the increasing acceptance and use of interventional pulmonology, this burden is expected to reduce significantly.
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