December 6, 2010       

Waterbury Hospital Physicians Successfully Perform Minimally Invasive Procedure to Identify Lung Cancer

 Using Ultrasound technology, physicians are now able to pinpoint cancerous cells without requiring surgery

 WATERBURY – Waterbury Hospital-affiliated physicians last week successfully performed two Ultrasound Transbronchial Biopsies, a highly-advanced, minimally invasive procedure that allows physicians to pinpoint the location of cancerous cells without requiring surgery.

Using advanced Ultrasound technology that had previously been unavailable in the Greater Waterbury Region, physicians from the practice Pulmonary Associates of Waterbury were able to successfully identify the exact locations of cancer cells in two patients last week. One of the patients was found to have lung cancer that required immediate surgery. 

“Before we had this technology, we would not have been able to identify the cancer as quickly and efficiently as we are now able to,” said Carl B. Sherter, MD, Chief of the Pulmonary Section at Waterbury Hospital. “Now that we’re able to pinpoint signs of cancer with greater accuracy and convenience, we will be able to save a lot more lives.” 

The new Ultrasound device, called an Endobronchial Ultrasound machine, or EBUS, was purchased by the hospital five weeks ago. Previously, patients in the Greater Waterbury Region had to go to Hartford to take advantage of this technology. Two of the physicians in the Waterbury practice, Elizabeth Mirabile-Levens, MD, and Robert McDonald, MD, received training on the device along with David Underhill, MD, a thoracic surgeon affiliated with the hospital. 

Dr. Sherter said the technology is a complementary piece to the hospital’s broad range of services for the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer. Another recently purchased device allows physicians to isolate and examine individual layers of cells to inspect for signs of cancer on a cell-by-cell basis. 

“We are very pleased to be able to offer these kinds of services to our patients,” said Steven Schneider, MD, Waterbury Hospital’s Vice President of Medical Affairs. “Lung cancer is a very serious health issue, which is why we are committed to providing the highest quality care to our patients.”

Waterbury Hospital is the largest private employer in the Greater Waterbury region, and serves a vital role in the economic vitality of Western Connecticut. It is a private, non-profit acute care teaching hospital licensed for 367 beds and affiliated with the Yale School of Medicine, the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Founded in 1890 as Waterbury’s first and Connecticut’s fourth hospital, Waterbury Hospital is a full-service community health-care institution with centers of excellence in primary care, cardiac services, behavioral health and orthopaedics.