Submitted By: Katherine Ross, NP
One of the ways I see science transforming life here at National Jewish Health is through the clinical staff thinking of new ways to deal with patient problems.
For example one of the patients who came to the MIDC to see Ali Musani, MD, our Interventional Pulmonologist, has struggled with severe tracheal stenosis, or narrowing of the windpipe. He has been on a ventilator for a long time and has had several stent placement surgeries to help keep his trachea open. Stents are silicone tubes that are placed in the airway to keep it open for easier breathing. This patient's stents became dislodged and fell into his smaller airways many times actually obstructing his breathing, causing respiratory failure and hospitalization. His next option would have been a tracheostomy tube surgically put in his neck, but he wanted to avoid that.
Dr. Musani and a thoracic surgeon oat the University of Colorado Denver developed an idea to keep a stent in place in this patient's throat. They placed a small staple, like a suture or stitch, from the outside of the neck in the stent so that it could not move around. This approach had never been tried before, but it was exactly what worked for the patient. He is doing very well, avoided the tracheostomy tube surgery and has not had respiratory difficulties since this procedure.
It was ingenuity, evolving science and thoughtful physicians who truly transformed this patient's life.
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