Chronic lung disease is the nation’s fourth leading cause of death, according to the American Lung Association, and every aspect of it gets treated at the Temple Lung Center. Under the leadership of Gerald Criner, cited in Best Doctors in America, a team of 200 medical specialists — pulmonologists, fellows, respiratory nurses, cardiothoracic surgeons, pulmonary function technologists, ventilator rehabilitation specialists and others — has built Temple into the city’s leader in pulmonary patient load. From complicated cases of bronchitis and asthma to infectious pneumonia to acute respiratory failure to ongoing management of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), they cover all bases, including advanced surgical techniques in transplants and lung volume reduction. The 18-bed ventilator rehab unit for patients with advanced lung disease draws referrals from Florida to Alaska. Clinical research is an important part of the equation, including a six-year NIH study to examine the benefits of home oxygen therapy for COPD and potential drugs for controlling pulmonary fibrosis (3401 North Broad Street, fifth floor, 800-TEMPLE-MED, pulmonary.templehealth.org).
Because it’s a leader in innovative scientific research, treatment and surgery and one of the top five fellowship programs in the country, Penn Lung Center was ranked 11th in the country for respiratory disease by U.S. News & World Report. It was way ahead of the curve in opening a respiratory intensive care unit and dedicates 40 physicians from the disciplines of allergy, immunology, critical care and pulmonology to treat its patients, who are referred from all over the region. Penn’s thoracic surgeons are the most active in the city and include luminaries like Larry Kaiser and Joel Cooper, who have been in the forefront of developing lung volume reduction surgery. The lung transplant program, a national standout, has given breath to more than 500 people, with survival rates consistently above the national average. The Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, opening this spring, will integrate pulmonary medicine, thoracic surgery, lung pathology, chest radiology and oncology all in one place. Researchers here are investigating an intrabronchial valve system and potential airway bypass surgery to improve the breathing of those with emphysema, as well as gene therapy and photodynamic therapy to treat lung cancer. And if you’re one of those addicts standing outside your office in freezing weather for a cigarette break, consider Penn’s Comprehensive Smoking Treatment Program, one of a dozen in the country to treat smoking as an illness (3400 Spruce Street, 800-789-PENN, pennhealth.com/lung).