The North Florida / South Georgia Veterans Health System and Malcom Randall VA Medical Center have achieved a landmark milestone surpassing 200 robotic-assisted bronchoscopy procedures for Veterans throughout the system’s catchment area.
Robot-assisted bronchoscopy is a recent advancement in navigational bronchoscopy, a procedure used to biopsy lung nodules to detect the presence of lung cancer and other lung diseases.
With lung cancer being the third most common form of cancer and the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, the ability of the VA to provide this diagnostic procedure to our Veterans has been monumental. Robot-assisted bronchoscopy is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure that enables VA doctors to biopsy smaller lung nodules further in the periphery of the lung. The improved accuracy of a diagnosis allows treatment to begin much sooner, which often leads to a better prognosis.
“Despite being one of the youngest VA Interventional Pulmonary programs, the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center boasts the largest robotic bronchoscopy program in overall volume as compared to any VA Medical Center, nationwide,” shared Dr. Bianka Eperjesiova, Director of Interventional Pulmonology. “Malcom Randall also screens the nation’s largest Veteran population for lung cancer.”
Dr. Peruvemba Sriram, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Chief, alongside Malcom Randall’s executive leadership team, had a vision for this robotic program well before 2022. Through committed efforts and coordination amongst multiple departments, the program is currently performing 8-12 robotic bronchoscopy procedures every week and recently successfully completed their 200th procedure.
The capability of the NF/SG Veterans Health System to perform this quantity of procedures directly results in our Veterans receiving the highest quality of timely health care. The Veterans treated at Malcom Randall are directly impacted in a positive manner through the care, compassion and commitment of the trailblazers adhering to the VA’s I-CARE values.
The Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Division continues to innovate the way care is being delivered to Veterans by acquiring a robot-integrated mobile cone beam computerized tomography (CT) unit coming in the next fiscal period. This additional advancement will allow the procedures to achieve near 100% diagnostic rate in a fraction of a time, and will soon be utilized in delivering targeted local thermal and non-thermal lung tumor ablative therapies in clinical trials available at the VA.
Malcom Randall VA Medical Center Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine staff will continue to strive to perform as many procedures as possible utilizing the most up-to-date techniques and cutting-edge technology while delivering the highest quality of care to NF/SG Veterans.
For more information on the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center, please visit https://www.va.gov/north-florida-health-care/locations/malcom-randall-department-of-veterans-affairs-medical-center/.