Thousands of people each year suffer from ailments associated with the lungs. In Kentucky, lung problems are particularly prevalent because of the state’s high number of smokers, high rate of allergy sufferers and occupational lung diseases. Look no further for your experts in lung health than UofL Physicians – Pulmonology Associates. We’ll help you to breathe easy again.
Our pulmonologists, also known as chest medicine specialists or respiratory medicine doctors, are nationally respected for their expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of critical care conditions, pulmonary diseases and sleep disorders.
UofL Physicians – Pulmonology Associates offers Kentucky’s most comprehensive care for all lung conditions. Our pulmonologists have the expertise and resources to diagnose and treat the most difficult cases, including pneumonia, asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or emphysema, chronic cough, lung cancer (one of Kentucky’s chief killers), interstitial lung diseases, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, occupational lung disease and pulmonary infections including tuberculosis. We also diagnose and treat sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, insomnia, restless leg syndrome and narcolepsy. UofL Physicians – Pulmonology Associates can serve as consultants to primary care and other physicians or provide long-term care to patients with these chronic conditions.
We have the region’s only fellowship-trained interventional pulmonologist.
Our mission is to deliver outstanding state-of-the-art medical care to our patients with the goal of improving quality of life, as well as preserving and restoring respiratory and sleep health.
Diseases and conditions
Lung health problems we care for are:
- COPD or emphysema
- Interstitial lung diseases, known as pulmonary fibrosis or sarcoidosis
- Patients who have had a complaint of cough for three weeks or more, a so-called chronic cough
- Lung nodules, or spots on the lung, which could indicate lung cancer or other problems
- Lung cancer
- Respiratory impairment work-ups when people complain of shortness of breath without an explanation
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Cystic fibrosis
- Lung transplantation
- Interventional pulmonary procedures include airway stents, laser treatment, navigational bronchoscopy, EBUS, transtracheal oxygen, etc.
Some of the most common symptoms of lung problems include:
- Shortness of breath or dyspnea
- Chest tightness
- Chest wall pain or pleurisy
Treatments and services
COPD & Lung valves
More than 15 million Americans suffer from COPD, with 3.5 million of those patients being diagnosed with emphysema. COPD, also known as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is the third-leading cause of death in the United States. The good news is that COPD is often preventable and treatable. UofL Physicians – Pulmonology Associates runs one of the most successful and comprehensive COPD disease management programs in the state of Kentucky.
Emphysema is a form of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease commonly known as COPD. In severe emphysema, the walls of the air sacs in the lungs called the alveoli are weakened and rupture, creating larger air spaces – this is known as hyperinflation.
When this occurs, the air sacs do not work properly and old air becomes trapped in the damaged areas. This causes the diseased parts of the lung to get larger and put pressure on the healthy parts of the lungs and diaphragm. As a result, patients may find it difficult to breathe properly and take full, deep breaths.
COPD is a progressive disease and gets worse over time. Emphysema is a severe form of COPD. People who suffer from emphysema live with severe shortness of breath that often prevents them from doing simple daily activities without pausing to catch their breath or resting.
Symptoms of emphysema include the following:
- Inability to catch your breath
- Fatigue or low energy
- Persistent cough
- Difficulty performing normal daily activities such as bathing, getting dressed, doing housework, walking or eating without feeling breathless
- Chest pain or tightness
- Blue or gray lips or fingernails when active
- Frequent respiratory infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia
- Production of sputum or phlegm
If you experience any of these symptoms and are not currently being treated, you should speak to your doctor immediately.
Emphysema cannot be cured, but the right treatment can help you breathe better, be more active, and improve your quality of life.
Zephyr Endobronchial Valve treatment
Approved by the FDA under their "Breakthrough Devices" status, the Zephyr Endobronchial Valve treatment represents a major advancement because it is the first minimally invasive procedure to help emphysema sufferers breathe easier without major surgery. Our multidisciplinary team at UofL Health - Advanced COPD Clinic offer this minimally invasive lung valve treatment for patients with severe COPD/emphysema that has proven successful for numerous patients in the past couple of years.
The Benefits of Zephyr® Valves
Patients report being able to take full breaths immediately after the procedure and within a few days are back to doing everyday tasks with ease. In clinical studies patients treated with Zephyr Valves have been shown to:
- Breathe easier
- Be more active and energetic
- Be less short of breath
- Enjoy a significantly improved quality of life compared to untreated patients
Want to learn more about lung valves? Hear from our patients, Tommi Richardson and Dr. Umair Guahar.
For those with difficulty treating asthma, we were the first to bring in bronchial thermoplasty treatments to our patients. The Alair Bronchial Thermoplasty System is the first non-pharmacological treatment for adults with severe, persistent asthma who don’t respond to standard medical interventions. Bronchial thermoplasty complements current asthma maintenance medications by providing long-lasting control and improving asthma-related quality of life for patients. UofL Physicians – Pulmonology Associates is the first physician practice in Kentucky to offer these treatments.
UofL Physicians – Pulmonology Associates provides multiple services for individuals with a wide variety of airway disorders. It is a collaborative effort between multiple specialists to provide individuals with access to the newest technologies available for minimally invasive procedures for the diagnosis and treatment of lung disorders. These procedures include biopsies of abnormal lungs and enlarged lymph nodes, early diagnosis and/or treatment of lung cancer, relief of airway obstructions, treatment of severe asthma and oxygen therapy.
The UofL Physicians – Pulmonology Associates - Adult Cystic Fibrosis Program is dedicated to the management of patients with cystic fibrosis and the study of conditions affecting this population. We are one of only two fully accredited adult cystic fibrosis programs in Kentucky certified by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a disease passed down through families that cause thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs, digestive tract, and other areas of the body. It is one of the most common chronic lung diseases in children and young adults. It is a life-threatening disorder. CF is caused by a defective gene. Millions of Americans carry this defect gene but do not have any symptoms. This is because a person must inherit two defective copies of the gene - one from each parent - in order to show symptoms.
Our Adult Cystic Fibrosis Program is a fully accredited, multi-disciplinary program focused on improving clinical outcomes in all patients with cystic fibrosis through patient and family-centered care in collaboration with The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Daily efforts are made to assure each individual is achieving maximum benefit from personalized care plans.
Advances in the management of cystic fibrosis continue to provide improved clinical outcomes, and active research on new treatment protocols is a priority for our center.
For more information on the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Program, or to schedule an appointment, please call 502-588-4600.
Lung cancer screening
Low-dose CT for early detection of lung cancer is intended for patients with an elevated risk of lung cancer. Results from the National Lung Screening Trial, which included more than 53,000 people, were reported in June 2011 in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study found that heavy smokers and former smokers who had CT imaging were 20% less likely to die of lung cancer than smokers who got traditional chest X-rays. Our low-dose CT lung cancer screening meets the gold standard for lung cancer diagnosis.
Patients should talk with their doctor to determine eligibility. If eligible, the physician will write an order for the screening. UofL Health - Brown Cancer Center's Lung Screening Program can also help determine eligibility and schedule the screening -- call 502-210-4497.
Lung nodules and lung cancer
We have the only physician in the region who is fellowship trained in interventional pulmonology. Our interventional pulmonologist is using the latest state-of-the-art technology to help evaluate lung nodules. This technology uses navigational bronchoscopy equipment to direct exactly where to go in the lung to perform biopsies. This helps minimize any risks to the patient and many times can eliminate the need for surgery.
Our goal is to improve the quality of life of patients with end-stage lung disease by providing state-of-the-art care driven by compassion and supported by innovative research. The combined efforts of our physicians and transplant coordinators, dietitians, social workers, physical therapists and other staff enable the lung transplant program to excel in providing attentive care for patients with end-stage lung disease by providing pre-operative management consultation, assessment for transplantation and post-operative management.
Interstitial lung disease/lung fibrosis
Our physician experts manage diffuse lung diseases that injure and scar the structures of the lung that are critical for gas exchange. We have one of the finest ILD groups of physicians in the Midwest region. Our clinical center of excellence is one of only a handful of federally funded ILD centers in the country. Patients in or near Louisville no longer have to travel to other states or centers to see ILD specialists.
Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a complex lung disease requiring the care and oversight of a team of specialists. The mission of the UofL Physicians – Pulmonology Associates Hypertension Center is to provide diagnosis and long-term care to patients and their families. The method of treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension is individualized for each patient. Treatment options can include oxygen to replace low levels in the blood, diuretics to rid the body of excess fluids (which reduces swelling), oral and inhaled therapy to manage the disease, surgery to remove blood clots and transplant evaluation/surgery to replace heart or lungs
Critical care medicine
Patients who require intensive care following an infection, major surgery, or severe breathing problems receive close, constant attention from a team of specially trained professionals. These patients often require support for hemodynamic instability, respiratory compromise, cardiac dysrhythmias and multiple organ system failures. Services we provide include advanced cardiac life support, chest tubes, pulmonary artery catheterization and ventilator management.