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Vidant Medical Center first in the world to use new device in lung procedure

September 15, 2015 posted by Beth Anne Atkins

GREENVILLE, N.C. – Vidant Medical Center (VMC) in Greenville, N.C., became the first hospital in the world to use a new lung biopsy device that will help patients get earlier diagnoses and undergo fewer invasive procedures. 

Medtronic, an internationally known medical technology and services company, selected VMC to be the first hospital to use the FDA approved, CrossCountry™device , which creates easier access to tumors outside of the airway by allowing the physician to navigate a small pathway from the airway to the tumor. 

“We were thrilled to be chosen by Medtronic to be the first to use the device,” said Dr. Mark R. Bowling, director of interventional pulmonology for the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.

Last month at VMC’s East Carolina Heart Institute, Dr. Bowling and Dr. Carlos Anciano, director of minimally invasive thoracic surgery at Brody, were the first in the world to use the CrossCountry™ device. During the procedure, they were able to biopsy – remove a tissue sample from – a lung mass far removed from the patient’s central airway. 

The procedure confirmed the patient’s lung mass was benign, and the patient was able to return home the same day. Doctors said the new device prevented the patient from having to undergo an invasive surgical procedure.

Bowling explained that traditional bronchoscopy – wherein a practitioner inserts a small tube through a patient’s nose or mouth to examine the airway – is a common and effective way to investigate lung abnormalities, but it is limited in that it can only reach the most central airway of the lung.  

"We are committed to ensure the people of eastern NC have access to advanced options for their health care. This procedure is an achievement made possible through our partnership with the Brody School of Medicine and others to deliver innovative treatment, and advance the science of medicine for everyone," stated Brian Floyd, president, Vidant Medical Center.  

As part of a comprehensive thoracic oncology program, VMC has invested in innovative technologies like the superDimension™ Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy™ (also known as ENB). It is like a “GPS” for the lungs and helps guide biopsy tools to access areas of the lung that are difficult to reach with general bronchoscopic techniques, Bowling explained. 

“We have a state-of-the-art hybrid operating room, and we do more navigational bronchoscopy procedures than most centers in the country,” he said. “We have performed more than 750 procedures in just under four years and are one of only a few centers in the world that have access to two of these navigational systems.” 

A hybrid OR is an operating room equipped with a sophisticated imaging system that allows physicians to perform minimally invasive cardiac and vascular procedures with greater precision than ever before. Using a piece of equipment commonly referred to as a C-arm, physicians can take pictures all the way around a person’s body. This three-dimensional view allows the entire care team to work with extreme accuracy when performing cardiac and vascular procedures. 

“The use of these technologies is part of our multispecialty approach to lung disease,” said Dr. Anciano. “They represent not just a novel approach in the field of lung cancer, but a stepping-stone towards less invasive treatment. They expand our ability to deploy future bronchoscopic and incision-less tools to manage this unrelenting disease.

“Hopes are high that having all of these technologies in place will allow us to diagnose and treat this disease earlier,” he added. “Every day, more than 400 people die of lung cancer in the United States. That is more than the next five cancers lumped together.”


Contacts: Beth Anne Atkins, Vidant Health Corporate Communications,, (252) 847-7735; or Kathryn Kennedy, ECU News Services,, 252-744-2482

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