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New procedure for lung patients

20 October 2014

​Patients in Jersey with lung conditions are being offered a new procedure on-Island to check if they have lung cancer or other lung diseases.
The non-surgical procedure means that patients who would have had to travel to the UK in the past can now be treated locally.
Consultant Dr Hamdi​ Amar, who heads the respiratory team at the hospital, is offering a procedure called Transbronchial Needle Aspiration (TBNA) which hasn't been available in Jersey before.

What the procedure involves

TBNA involves a tiny camera being fed through the patient’s nose or mouth, down their windpipe and into their lungs, so that the consultant can assess the lungs and offer a diagnosis of disease.

It also allows the consultant to carefully target the lymph nodes of the lungs and take tiny samples using a very fine needle. Previously, a chest scan was the best way of doing this.

The non-surgical procedure creates a 50 to 60% chance of a diagnosis about a suspected lung condition, depending on the number of samples and the experience of the operator.

Where lung cancer is diagnosed, the stage of the cancer can be assessed so the correct treatment can be given.

If other non-cancerous conditions are diagnosed, the patient can be advised on how best to manage their lung condition.
The procedure has already been successfully performed on two local patients. 

S​afe procedure

Dr Amar said “The procedure is very safe and although it is a little uncomfortable for the patient, who is under twilight sedation, it means there is no need for a surgical operation, known as a mediastinoscopy, and no need for general anaesthetic. It takes around an hour.”

Dr Amar added “TBNA is extremely safe and there’s a very low incidence of complication. It is recommended by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to be used as a useful diagnostic tool and we’re pleased to be able to offer it to Jersey patients.”

Dr Amar estimates that around 12 people a year in Jersey could potentially have the new procedure performed. 

There is no age barrier, and each potential patient is closely assessed for their suitability as it may not be suitable for asthmatics.
The procedure is carried out at the hospital with a team of nurses and back-up from th​e cellular pathology team, and patients are able to go home the same day.
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