Interventional pulmonology refers to all invasive procedures on the lungs and the membrane lining the lungs and chest cavity (pleura). These include flexible and rigid bronchoscopies and pleural drainage among others. In addition to diagnostic interventions, local procedures can be carried out on the lungs to positively influence the course of disease. The main methods used are painless and low risk and cause patients little discomfort. Most diagnostic procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis.
All advanced methods of obtaining samples for histological, cytological, microbiological and molecular biological testing are available. Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) and fluoroscopy are specifically used to enable exact localization. In addition, the local treatment of malignant diseases of the respiratory tract, as well as the endoscopic treatment of emphysema with valves or coils, can be performed in collaboration with the Department of Thoracic Surgery.
Routine methods include the use of rigid and flexible high-resolution video endoscopes, fluorescence endoscopes, ultrasound endoscopes, laser, argon plasma coagulants, dilatation balloons and cryotherapy. For the treatment of bronchial constriction (e.g. caused by tumors), it is possible to insert a placeholder, also called a stent.
Diagnostic and therapeutic interventions on the membrane lining the lungs and chest cavity (pleura)
Another branch of interventional pulmonology includes diagnostic and therapeutic procedures for cases of pleural effusion and pneumothorax (air trapped between the lung and the chest wall).
For malignant pleural effusions, a pleural catheter (PleurX catheter) that remains under the skin may be inserted under local anesthesia.