Mercy Philadelphia Hospital Now Offering Endoscopic Ultrasound
High-tech diagnostic tool bolsters gastroenterology and cancer care programs
West Philadelphia, PA - When it comes to fighting digestive diseases and cancer, early detection is key to successful treatment and recovery. The gastroenterology team at Mercy Philadelphia Hospital (MPH) is now using endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) that can pinpoint the smallest abnormalities in the digestive tract and nearby organs.
EUS combines ultrasound technology with endoscopy to better visualize and sample tissues. It uses a thin, flexible tube called an echoendoscope with a built-in miniature ultrasound probe at its tip. The echoendoscope is passed through the patient’s mouth or rectum and into the digestive tract, allowing an internal vantage point. The ultrasound probe sends high-frequency sound waves that are bounced off the body’s internal tissues, converting the echoes into a computerized picture called a sonogram.
"EUS is typically painless and can expedite the correct diagnosis of a patient's condition – in most cases on an outpatient basis," says Dr. Raman Battish, who leads the EUS program at Mercy. “The sooner we can detect the problem, the faster we can begin an individualized treatment plan for the patient and get them on the road to recovery. EUS allows just that.”
EUS has two primary advantages over conventional ultrasound and endoscopy.
Conventional ultrasound uses a transducer against the skin to produce images of internal organs. With EUS, transducer is placed closer to the area of interest to obtain higher resolution images.
Secondly, EUS allows physicians to see internal organs without making an incision. In conventional endoscopy, the gastroenterologist can only view the innermost lining of the digestive tract, or its wall. The addition of ultrasound allows the endoscopist to see beyond that wall to visualize all five layers of the GI tract as well as surrounding tissue and organs.
The gastroenterology team at MPH offers EUS to help stage cancers such as esophageal, gastric, rectal, lung, bile duct, and pancreatic cancers. It is also used to diagnose diseases of internal organs, evaluate masses in the lining of the digestive tract and perform therapeutic applications.
"The therapeutic applications of EUS are growing as it is often an ideal minimally invasive way to access certain organs, such as the pancreas, in benign and malignant disease,” says Dr. Battish.
EUS is a highly specialized procedure and requires extra training. Dr. Battish trained in EUS while completing an advanced therapeutic endoscopy fellowship at the UCLA Digestive Diseases Center. He joined MPH in July 2011.
“As a facility that is committed to providing the best care for our patients, we are proud to introduce this technology and innovation,” says Dr. Mervyn Danilewitz, Chief of Gastroenterology. "EUS complements our established in pancreatico-biliary capabilities."
Dr. Danilewitz adds, “Until Dr. Battish arrived, these types of procedures were performed at other facilities, where there are long waiting lists. Having Dr. Battish at Mercy makes it more convenient for our patients to receive all the care they need, from diagnosis to treatment.”
To learn more about the availability of endoscopic ultrasounds, call 215.748.9833.