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Diagnosis & Treatment of Pulmonary Conditions

When you can’t breathe, nothing else matters. That’s why we’re focused on offering the latest techniques and minimally invasive treatment and diagnostic options—to help you breathe easy and feel better, so you can focus on what’s most important to you.

Lung conditions we treat

Many patients come to us with symptoms like shortness of breath or a persistent cough. Others have been told they have an abnormal X-ray or CT scan, or they’ve been diagnosed with a respiratory problem or lung cancer. Our pulmonologists provide diagnosis and treatment through all stages of lung disease, including:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)-related pulmonary complications
  • Asthma
  • Bronchiectasis and nontuberculous mycobacterial lung disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Cough
  • Dyspnea
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Lung cancer
  • Neuromuscular causes of respiratory failure
  • Nontuberculosis lung disease
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Pulmonary arterial hypertension
  • Sarcoidosis

Lung cancer screening

The pulmonary medicine team plays an integral role in Virginia Mason Franciscan Health’s Lung Cancer program. Our providers use CT imaging to screen patients for lung cancer as well as overseeing the Pulmonary Nodule program. With this program, we assess hundreds of nodules each year. Our goal is to identify which nodules are likely to be malignant. This helps patients get the treatment they need and avoid unnecessary procedures.

When concerning nodules are found, we use advanced techniques to help diagnose cancer, and have a conference with doctors in different specialties about the cancer treatment. This helps us make sure every patient gets the best care.

State-of-the-art diagnostic technology

Our team uses the latest tools to make fast, accurate diagnoses. For example, we have special expertise in using a tiny scope—called a bronchoscope—to look inside your airway and see what might be wrong. Our physicians have unparalleled experience at using bronchoscopy to diagnose lung problems. We’re also home to a state-of-the-art pulmonary function testing laboratory, where we measure how well the lungs take in air and transfer oxygen to the blood.

St. Joseph Medical Center, Tacoma, recently added a new tool for diagnosing lung cancer sooner, and with greater accuracy, which could mean earlier intervention and treatment for some patients.

The robotic-assisted, minimally invasive biopsy platform allows surgeons to access parts of the lung that couldn’t be reached by standard biopsy methods—including nodules outside of airways. The system features an ultra-thin, ultra-maneuverable catheter that allows navigation far into the peripheral lung, precise maneuvering of the scope and instruments, and direct visualization, while also ensuring stability during lesion sampling.

Advanced lung treatments

Our specialty physicians are trained in the latest interventional pulmonary techniques for a broad spectrum of pulmonary disorders, such as lung cancer, airway obstruction and pleural effusions. Minimally invasive diagnostic imaging and procedures performed in an outpatient setting include:

  • Bronchial thermoplasty for severe/refractory asthma
  • Bronchoscopic electrocautery to relieve airway obstruction by tumors or scar tissue
  • Argon plasma for tumor treatment
  • Endobronchial ultrasonography (EBUS) for enhanced imaging capabilities
  • Balloon dilation for airway narrowing
  • Pleurodesis and thoracentesis to remove or prevent fluid buildup
  • PleurX® catheters to remove fluid at home or in a skilled nursing setting

Our pulmonologists are also board-certified in critical care medicine. Working with other medical and surgical specialists, we coordinate the complex critical care that has greatly improved survival in the intensive care units in our communities.

Find a pulmonologist near you

If you have concerns about lung disease or lung cancer screening, seeing a pulmonologist can help you breathe easier.