Quad Cities, IL/IA

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Endoscopic Ultrasound


Submitted by Mississippi Valley Surgery Center

For Quad-Cities patients who are facing an esophageal, pancreatic, or stomach cancer diagnosis, the process of getting answers to help them fight their disease just got a lot easier. That’s because the Mississippi Valley Endoscopy Center has invested in the latest advanced technology to diagnose and treat diseases in the digestive system: endoscopic ultrasound technology (EUS).

Rather than having to travel to Iowa City to get answers to their pressing questions, patients will now be able to undergo the minimally invasive procedure right here in Davenport.

“Getting a potential cancer diagnosis is a very disorienting and scary experience,” said Liz Hayman, RN, BS, CGRN, and manager of the Mississippi Valley Endoscopy Center. “Being able to help these patients with compassion and with the latest technology right here in the Quad Cities is very important to us.”

What is endoscopic ultrasound technology?
EUS is currently the most accurate method of diagnosing and staging disorders in the gastrointestinal tract, providing physicians with critical information that otherwise would have to be obtained through more invasive procedures.

The minimally invasive procedure uses high-frequency sound waves to produce detailed images of the lining and walls of patient’s digestive tract and chest, nearby organs such as the pancreas, liver, and lymph nodes. When combined with a procedure called fine-needle aspiration, EUS also provides the ability to biopsy fluid and tissue from the abdomen or chest for analysis.

“EUS can spot tumors that are very, very small and has an extremely high accuracy rating,” said Liz. “This makes it much more reliable than CT scans, which is the other alternative in staging these types of cancers.”

Dr. Bettaiah T. Gowda, a local gastroenterologist at The Gastrointestinal Clinic of the Quad Cities in Davenport, who has specialized in performing this procedure at the Mississippi Valley Endoscopy Center, said that another huge benefit of the procedure is the ability to give patients answers very quickly.

“In many cases, I’ll be able to provide patients with a diagnosis and stage of their cancer immediately after the procedure,” he said. “This helps reduce their overall anxiety and prevents any delay in treating advanced cancer.”

Special training required
It takes a high level of expertise to perform an EUS — both from the physician as well as the supporting team. Staff at the Endoscopy Center undergo special training for EUS.

In addition to the intricacies of the procedure itself, it’s critical to be able to interpret the data correctly.

“In the past it wasn’t uncommon for people to get surgery for pancreatic cancer only to find out it wasn’t cancer at all,” said Dr. Gowda. “Using our expertise, we can utilize this advanced technology to provide patients with much more precise diagnosis. This lets us make more informed decisions regarding treatment plans, which is critical when fighting these diseases.”

What patients can expect
To prepare for an upper GI tract EUS, patients are required to take the same steps that are required to prepare for an upper endoscopy.

The stomach must be empty, so patients cannot have anything to eat or drink by mouth for six hours prior to the procedure. The preparation for a rectal EUS is the same as the upper EUS, with the addition of two enemas that are taken the morning of the procedure. If applicable, patients may also need to stop taking any blood thinning medications for one week before the test.

During an EUS procedure, the doctor passes a flexible tube (the endoscope) through the patient’s mouth or rectum and through the digestive tract. A small ultrasound device that’s in the tube produces sound waves that create a precise image of surrounding tissue, including lymph nodes in the chest. The endoscope is then gradually withdrawn.

“The procedure is a little bit longer than a traditional endoscopy — about 40 minutes to an hour,” said Liz. “Because of that, patients are anesthetized to stay comfortable. Most people can go home about one hour after the procedure is completed.”

Both Dr. Gowda and Liz want patients who are facing an esophageal, pancreatic, or stomach cancer diagnosis to know that getting answers to their questions is something that can be accomplished close to home here in the Quad Cities. They encourage patients to talk to their physicians to discuss EUS and whether it’s appropriate for them.

To learn more about the Mississippi Valley Endoscopy Center, go to www.mvhealth.net and visit Facebook at facebook.com/MississippiValleySurgeryCenter.

To learn more about Dr. Gowda and The Gastrointestinal Clinic of the Quad Cities visit Facebook at facebook.com/gicqc or contact his office at 563-359-9696.

Photo credit:Susan Chiang/iStock