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GPS technology expands lung cancer program
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St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Employs New Minimally Invasive Procedure For Early Diagnosis And Treatment Of Lung Cancer

New Procedure Uses Advanced GPS-Type Technology to Diagnose and Treat Lung Tumors

Pontiac, Mich.—St. Joseph Mercy Oakland (SJMO) is among the first hospitals in Michigan to offer a new procedure called Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy (ENB) that gives patients a minimally invasive option to locate, enable biopsy and plan treatment for a lesion (spot) detected deep in the lung

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death among men and women.  ENB is among the many new diagnostic and minimally invasive ways to detect and treat lung cancer in earlier stages, when the chances of a cure are greater.

ENB enables a physician to diagnose and treat lung tumors in outer areas of the lung that are not accessible with traditional bronchoscopy, says M. Salik A. Jahania, MD, an SJMO cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon who performed the procedure on Feb. 16, 2011. SJMO is among the few hospitals in the state to offer this new high-tech outpatient procedure using the I-Logic machine, which greatly expands the depth of SJMO’s lung cancer program.

“ENB uses Global Positioning System (GPS)-like technology to help navigate special catheters through a patient’s airway to a suspicious lesion deep in the lungs,” Dr. Jahania says.  “The system virtually guides the physician in steering the catheter through complex airways beyond the reach and sight of the traditional bronchoscope.” 

“Prior to ENB, when lung cancer was suspected but couldn’t be seen with the bronchoscope, the only choices for diagnosis were watchful waiting (allowing the tumor to grow large enough to be viewed with the bronchoscope), invasive and risky needle biopsies or major surgery to remove a section of the lung,” says Ingida Asfaw, MD, Chief of Staff-Elect, who was instrumental in bringing the equipment to SJMO.

Advantages of using ENB include quicker diagnosis and treatment, little or no pain, no overnight stay, less cost and a lower risk of complications.  For example, the chance of a collapsed lung with traditional needle biopsy is 20 to 30 percent, while it is just 2 percent using ENB. 

“We are pleased to offer earlier diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer,” said Jack Weiner, SJMO President and CEO.  “This breakthrough in medical technology provides us with an opportunity to offer patients more treatment options.”

Other new diagnostic and ultraminimally invasive advances include ultrasound-guided bronchoscopy and biopsy, argon treatment of obstructing tumors of the aerodigestive tract, stents and robotic lung surgery using the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System. These new procedures can minimize pain, shorten hospital stay allowing earlier return to normal life and improved quality of life for inoperable patients, Dr. Jahania says.

About St. Joseph Mercy Oakland
St Joseph Mercy Oakland is a 443-bed comprehensive, community, teaching hospital and a long-time leader in health care in Oakland County.  Founded in 1927 by the Sisters of Mercy, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland has won numerous local and national awards for patient safety, quality and performance, and consistently ranks in the top 10 percent of hospitals nationwide.  A member of the Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, St Joseph Mercy Oakland is a technologically leading hospital that combines advanced medicine and personal care to assist patients on their path to wellness. With dedicated physicians, nurses and hospital staff committed to providing quality care throughout the patient stay, St Joseph Mercy Oakland has truly personalized the patient care experience.

For more information about health services offered at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, please visit 

About Saint Joseph Mercy Health System
Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (SJMHS) is a newly expanded health care organization serving southeast Michigan. Health coverage spans six counties, including Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne. It includes 537-bed St. Joseph Mercy in Ann Arbor, 443-bed St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, 304-bed St. Mary Mercy in Livonia, 136-bed St. Joseph Mercy Livingston in Howell, 119-bed St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron, 113-bed Chelsea Community Hospital and 74-bed St. Joseph Mercy Saline. Combined, the seven hospitals are licensed for 1,726 beds, have five outpatient health centers, five urgent care facilities, more than 25 specialty centers; employ more than 14,000 individuals and have a medical staff of nearly 2,700 physicians. 

A member of Trinity Health, the nation’s fourth largest Catholic health care organization, SJMHS is committed to providing a remarkable patient experience by using leading edge technology in a comforting and healing environment. As a mission based organization, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System provides approximately $100 million in community benefit to the communities it serves each year.

For more information on health services offered at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, please visit

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