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Physicians at Banner Thunderbird now using ultrasound in endoscopy procedures


GLENDALE, Ariz. (April 10, 2012) –Doctors at Banner Thunderbird responsible for diagnosing life-threatening digestive and lung diseases have a powerful new tool in their arsenal.

It’s called endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and it’s helping gastroenterologists and pulmonologists at the non-profit Glendale hospital save lives by making it much harder for tumors or other abnormalities to hide inside the body.

EUS is a nonsurgical procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce detailed images of the lining and walls of the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract, as well as nearby organs such as the lungs, stomach, pancreas, liver and gallbladder.

Previously, doctors had relied on endoscopes equipped solely with video cameras to diagnose and assess medical conditions in the gastrointestinal tract. Endoscopes are long, thin, flexible tubes that can be passed down the throat or nose of a sedated patient to capture video and still images inside the body. The tips of the scopes have a very small video camera and light source. Small tools to collect tissue samples can also be fed through the ultrasound-equipped endoscope.

Endoscopes have been used successfully for many years despite one major limitation: they only see what the human eye can see.

EUS gives doctors the ability to see beneath tissue and beyond the walls of the digestive tract and pulmonary pathways, capturing detailed images of internal organs in the abdomen and chest.

“EUS gives us the opportunity to diagnose the cause of pain in the digestive tract and locate and view tumors or abnormalities in the pancreas, bile ducts and chest cavity,” said Teodor Pitea, MD, a board-certified gastroenterologist at Banner Thunderbird. “This may include identifying cancer, understanding the extent of certain cancers and whether they have spread to lymph glands or other vital organs.”

The new ultrasound device doesn’t replace the video camera – it works alongside it, giving doctors the ability to see beyond the tissue that is being viewed by the video camera.

About Banner Thunderbird Medical Center
Banner Thunderbird Medical Center – part of Banner Health, a nonprofit health system with 23 hospitals throughout the West—is the leading provider of pediatric care in the West Valley. Services include a dedicated Pediatric Emergency department, 40 pediatric inpatient beds, a pediatric intensive care unit, pediatric surgery and a Level III neonatal intensive care unit.

Contact: Barry Iselin, PR Specialist
Contact: 602-865-5779

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