New Delhi, April 26 : The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on Thursday said it has become the country's first hospital to set up Virtual Bronchoscopy Navigation (VBN), an advanced facility for diagnosis and treatment of patients with small tumour-like spots in the lungs, which can be cancerous.
"The Virtual Bronchoscopy Navigation system was installed in the Department of Pulmonary Medicine and Sleep Disorders at AIIMS, New Delhi on April 23, 2018 and four initial patients underwent the procedure successfully," said Professor Anant Mohan.
Lung diseases are on the rise and it is not uncommon to find patients who have been diagnosed with small abnormal appearing areas in the lungs which are picked up on chest X-rays and CT scan examinations, said the Professor of Department of Pulmonary Medicine and Sleep Disorders.
"These small lung lesions can very commonly be lung cancer and if not diagnosed on time, they can increase in size and the cancer can spread to other body parts," he said, adding that these could also be related to diseases like TB.
It is difficult to make a definite diagnosis by seeing the appearance of these lesions on the CT scans or the chest X-rays and for that, an image-guided biopsy is needed in which a needle is used to puncture the chest wall to reach the spot, said AIIMS spokesperson Karan Madan.
The VBN system allows getting samples from these small lung lesions with extreme precision and safety using a bronchoscope after a 3D view of the windpipe is generated using the CT scan images, thereby avoiding puncturing the lung and reducing complications, said Madan.
"This is a sophisticated software like a GPS of airways that allows going through the nose and windpipe.
This has raised the chances of correct diagnosis to 90 per cent from 65 per cent earlier. It prevents delay in diagnosis and allows identifying cancer and TB in early stages," he said.
Madan, Assistant Professor in the Department of Pulmonary Medicine and Sleep Disorders, informed that the entire facility was set up at a cost of Rs 90 lakh to Rs 1 crore.
"Apart from the US and Europe, very few countries in Asia, like China and Singapore, have this facility," he added.
AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria said: "Most of the patients with lung cancer come late or in advanced stages of the disease, in which case only a limited number of treatment options can be offered to the patients.
If disease is diagnosed early, definitive treatment can be offered and cure rates can be improved."