In the first of two recent operations at the Guam Regional Medical City,, pulmonologist Dr. Michael Agustin successfully implanted an “in-dwelling pleural catheter” into the chest of a young woman with breast cancer that had spread to her lungs, causing fluid accumulation.
“In-dwelling pleural catheters” are small, flexible tubes, designed to stay in-place and drain fluid from around the lungs. Once implanted, patients no longer need to undergo the ordeal of periodic needle aspirations to draw out the fluid and that means fewer re-admissions and lower medical costs.
This advanced medical procedure helps cancer patients struggling with “recurrent malignant pleural effusion”, which is the medical term for the abnormal accumulation of fluid between the lining outside the lung and the wall of the chest cavity. This condition often occurs in lung cancer patients as well as in patients suffering from other types of cancers that have spread to the lungs.
[ An “in-dwelling pleural catheter” left, recently implanted into a breast cancer patient’s chest, right]
The introduction of this new procedure follows the successful completion in March of an endobronchial stent operation performed at GRMC by Dr. Agustin with the assistance of GRMC Neurointerventional Radiologist Dr. Scott Shay. That operation cleared a path through a cancerous growth for a man struggling to breathe.
Both operations are believed to be the first of their kind ever conducted on Guam. They significantly enhance the care available on island for cancer patients suffering from pulmonary complications. They are both now available at GRMC.