Click the conditions below to learn more
If you are a patient affected by one of these conditions or you would like to learn more about a particular condition, call us at 1(855) 432-7811 or click here to email our thoracic team.
Learn more about how we treat these conditions.
Achalasia is a rare disease of the muscle of the esophagus (swallowing tube). Achalasia means "failure to relax" and refers to the lower esophageal sphincter (a ring of muscle situated between the lower esophagus and the stomach) failing to open and let food pass into the stomach. As a result, patients with achalasia have difficulty in swallowing food. Click here to learn more about achalasia treatments North Shore-LIJ offers.
Bronchiectasis is a condition in which an area of the lung develops localized swelling of the airways. This swelling or dilatation causes retained mucus and secretions, which results in recurrent lung infection. Symptoms of bronchiectasis include shortness of breath, recurrent cough, large volume of thick sputum production, bad breath due to impaired clearance of secretions and, occasionally, hemoptysis (bloody sputum). Click here to learn more about bronchiectasis treatments offered by North Shore-LIJ).
Cancer of the Chest Wall/ Chest Tumors
The walls of the chest cavity comprise ribs, sternum (breast bone) and muscles, and are susceptible to the growth of tumors. These tumors may be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Both types of tumors are often treated by removal. Click here to learn more about how North Shore-LIJ treats cancer of the chest wall/chest tumors.
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Emphysema is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) involving damage to the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. One of the main symptoms of emphysema is shortness of breath. Symptoms may become severe and interfere with regular daily activities. Emphysema patients may not be able to perform simple tasks, such as showering or walking on flat surfaces without difficulty. Use of oxygen through a nasal cannula may be required depending on oxygen levels. Click here to learn more about how North Shore-LIJ treats Emphysema.
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An empyema (pus in the chest) is infection of the chest cavity between the lungs and the rib cage. Treated as long ago as the days of Hippocrates, empyema often results from an untreated pneumonia. Symptoms may include fever, cough, shortness of breath, malaise and chest discomfort. Click here to learn more about how North Shore-LIJ treats Empyema.
Esophageal cancer is a malignant tumor of the esophagus, a muscular swallowing tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. This is often a very aggressive tumor with a rising incidence in the United States. There are several types; the two main ones are adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous is less common in this country but represents approximately 75 percent of all esophageal cancer throughout the world. Adenocarcinoma is the most common form seen here and often relates to a history of reflux of gastric materials into the esophagus.
A common symptom of esophageal cancer is a problem swallowing, with the feeling of food being stuck in the throat or chest (dysphagia). Physicians will likely perform an upper endoscopy (the use of a small camera attached to a long, thin tube) and biopsy (removal of tissue for analysis) to determine what type of cells make up the tumor. Further direct endoscopic evaluation may include endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), which helps to see the depth of the tumor in the wall and the extent of lymph gland involvement. Several X-ray tests are very important to evaluate esophageal cancer and may include upper GI series (barium swallow), CAT scan and PET scan. All of these tests together will help determine the stage of the disease and the treatment plan that will be recommended. Click here to learn more about how North Shore-LIJ treats esophageal cancer.
A hiatal hernia is a frequent anatomical abnormality in which part of the stomach protrudes or herniates through the diaphragm and up into the chest. Hiatal hernia symptoms include heartburn, nausea and regurgitation.
Occasionally, the pressure of the hernia on the lungs may cause shortness of breath. The regurgitation of acidic fluids into the throat may cause aspiration into the lungs, inciting asthma or even pneumonia. If the stomach gets stuck in the defect in the diaphragm, the hernia may become confined and cause severe pain in the chest and abdomen, which is a surgical emergency. Click here to learn more about how North Shore-LIJ treats hiatal hernia.
Known as sweaty palm syndrome, hyperhidrosis is a common disorder that manifests with symptoms such as excessive sweating of palms, feet or underarms. This disorder can be extremely disabling, both socially and professionally. Hyperhidrosis is seen in up to 1-2 percent of the population and may be hereditary in some cases. Click here to learn more about how North Shore-LIJ treats hyperhidrosis.
Interstitial Lung Disease
Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is a group of disorders in which the lungs develop significant and sometimes disabling scar tissue or fibrosis within the tissues. This may be due to pulmonary fibrosis or other similar problems. This limits the transfer of oxygen across the membranes of the lung, thereby making breathing difficult. Click here to learn more about how North Shore-LIJ treats interstitial lung disease.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Over the last several years, approximately 150,000 new cases have been found each year.
Cancer, in general, is caused by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells, and in this case, those cells are originating in the lung. These abnormal cells continue dividing and over time grow into lumps or masses of tissue called tumors, which may interfere with the main function of the lung, respiration. There are many symptoms of lung cancer, including shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain, shoulder pain and coughing of blood. Many cases are diagnosed without symptoms, simply based upon X-ray and CAT scan analysis. Click here to learn more about how North Shore-LIJ treats lung cancer.
Lung nodules are spots seen on an X-ray or CAT scan of the chest that may be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). With the increase in the use of CAT scans, lung nodules are being found with increasing regularity, though people with solitary lung nodules do not usually experience symptoms.
Nodules are characterized based upon their size, density and shape. Small and smooth nodules are more likely to be benign, while nodules that are more likely to be cancerous are those with irregular borders, mixed densities or are growing over time. Click here to learn more about how North Shore-LIJ treats lung nodules.
Lymph node enlargement (lymphadenopathy) in the chest is a frequent finding on X-rays and CAT scans. There are many reasons for the enlarged nodes that often depend on the patient's history. Some infections and inflammatory conditions such as sarcoidosis can cause the nodes to be enlarged. Tumors of the chest, such as lung cancer, may also involve the nodes and cause them to become enlarged. Click here to learn more about how North Shore-LIJ treats lymphadenopathy.
Mediastinal Disease (Mediastinal tumors)
Mediastinal disease refers to an unusual group of tumors that form in the area called the mediastinum, which separates the lungs in the middle of the thoracic cavity. About half of mediastinal tumors cause no symptoms and are found on a chest X-ray or scans for another reason. Occasionally, they will cause symptoms of chest pain or shortness of breath.
Some of the possibilities for mediastinal tumors include thymic gland tumors, enlarged thyroid glands sitting beneath the chest's bony structure and tumors of the lymphatic system -- lymphoma. Other possible reasons for tumors in this area are nerve-related tumors and cysts of the pericardium or lung. Click here to learn more about how North Shore-LIJ treats mediastinal disease.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of lung cancer that usually arises in the lining of the lungs. Almost always related to prior asbestos exposure, mesothelioma patients also may have had other exposures, such as tobacco. Mesothelioma's symptoms are caused by its growth along the outside of the lung and the inside of the rib cage, with the most common ones being chest pain and shortness of breath. Many people will have a fluid collection around the lung (pleural effusion). Often the fluid is not revealing when samples are removed for a test and further testing may be needed. CAT and PET scans may help in revealing the extent of the disease process. Click here to learn more about how North Shore-LIJ treats mesothelioma.
Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an auto-immune disorder of the nerves and muscles of the body that causes progressive weakness and, often, drooping of the eyelids known as ocular myasthenia. This causes people to experience double vision as the day progresses. Symptoms of MG may also occur predominantly in the throat with swallowing difficulties, problems with aspiration pneumonia (inflammation of lungs and airways due to breathing in foreign material) or difficulty speaking.
In some cases, the arms and legs are weakened to the point that walking or daily activities are compromised. Diagnosis of MG is based upon blood tests, which may show elevated levels of specific antibodies. In some cases, the level of antibodies is not increased, and evaluation based upon nerve tests and EMG will be required. Click here to learn more about how North Shore-LIJ treats myasthenia gravis.
Pleural effusion is collection of fluid around the lung. This often causes shortness of breath as the lung gets compressed from the fluid. The reasons for effusion are many, and the specific diagnosis is often based upon tap or drainage of the fluid. Click here to learn more about how North Shore-LIJ treats pleural effusion.
Pneumonia is a lung infection caused by bacteria or a virus. Patients with pneumonia can have a cough with green or bloody mucus, a fever, chills, chest pain and difficulty breathing. Pneumonia us usually diagnosed x-ray or blood test. Click here to learn more about how North Shore-LIJ treats pneumonia.
Pneumothorax is a collapse of the lung from air accumulation between the lungs and the bony rib cage. This condition is often documented by x-rays and CAT scans and can result in sharp chest pain and shortness of breath. Causes of pneumothorax include rupture of blebs, which are small air blisters on the surface of the lung. This may occur in young patients, especially tall, thin, males. Other reasons for pneumothorax include rupture of a bleb in underlying emphysema or the result of a chest injury. Click here to learn more about how North Shore-LIJ treats pneumothorax.
Pulmonary embolism is a serious condition that is caused by a blood clot in the lung that had traveled through the heart and likely originated from veins in the legs or pelvis. The clots become wedged in a vessel that is too small to allow it to continue farther, which impedes the blood flow through the heart and lungs. Symptoms of pulmonary embolism depend upon the size of the clot and may include chest pain, rapid heart rate, sudden shortness of breath and sudden coughing, sometimes with blood. Inciting factors may include cancer, congestive heart failure, long-duration travel on an airplane and medications that increase the risk of blood clotting. Click here to learn more about how North Shore-LIJ treats pulmonary embolism.
Pulmonary fibrosis refers to scarring throughout the lungs. Its causes come from many conditions, including chronic inflammatory processes, infections, environmental agents, exposure to certain gases, exposure to ionizing radiation and chronic conditions. Click here to learn more about how North Shore-LIJ treats pulmonary fibrosis.
Sarcoidosis is a disease that results from a specific type of inflammation of tissues of the body. It can appear in almost any organ, but it starts most often in the lungs or lymph nodes. Symptoms of sarcoidosis can include dry cough or shortness of breath. Click here to learn more about how North Shore-LIJ treats sarcoidosis.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
This is an infectious respiratory illness caused by a virus.The infection is spread easily from person to person through respiratory droplets. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome causes acute respiratory distress (severe breathing difficulty) and sometimes death.
Narrowing of the trachea, or the airway, may occur from trauma tumors or inflammation. This causes difficulty in breathing and may appear to be asthma. Click here to learn more about how North Shore-LIJ treats tracheal stenosis.
Once nearly extinct, tuberculosis (TB) has resumed its role as a significant infectious disease agent around the world. Pulmonary infections with TB may cause spots that need to be removed and may cause bleeding in the lungs. Click here to learn more about how North Shore-LIJ treats tuberculosis.