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Procedure used to spot lung issues now available at Alton Memorial Hospital

Patients Can Breathe Easier with EBUS

Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS) bronchoscopy is a procedure used to diagnose different types of lung disorders including inflammation, infections or cancer. The procedure is now available at Alton Memorial Hospital.

Performed by a pulmonologist, EBUS bronchoscopy uses a flexible scope that goes through your mouth and into your windpipe and lungs. Similar to, though smaller than, the device used during a colonoscopy, the EBUS scope has a video camera with an ultrasound probe attached to create local images of your lungs and nearby lymph nodes. This enables the doctor to accurately locate, evaluate and sample areas seen on x-rays or scans.

If you think you might benefit from EBUS, speak to your primary care physician about a referral to see a pulmonologist, who will then schedule the procedure. AMH now has a pulmonologist on staff, Dr. Paul Eckerle. His office is in Suite 230 of Medical Office Building B on the AMH campus, and the phone number is 618-433-6750.

What to Expect

Your physician might obtain bloodwork prior to your procedure, and the evening before you will be asked to not eat or drink after midnight, depending on when the procedure is scheduled. On the day of your procedure, you will receive an IV to administer medications that will keep you comfortable throughout the procedure.

In almost all cases, anesthesia will be used to put you completely asleep. Once you are asleep, anesthesia will place a breathing tube into your lungs to both assist your breathing during the procedure and to allow access for the scope. After the breathing tube is placed, your doctor will insert the scope down the tube to begin the EBUS bronchoscopy.

Using the camera and the ultrasound, the doctor will examine and collect samples from your lung, which are usually taken with a small needle. You may experience a mild cough and a sore throat, but both will usually go away within 24-72 hours.

EBUS bronchoscopy is an outpatient procedure, and you will generally be allowed to go home after a brief observation period. You will be asked to have someone drive you home from the procedure.

Dr. Paul Eckerle, a pulmonologist on staff at Alton Memorial Hospital, performs an Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS) bronchoscopy (submitted photo).

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