Interventional Pulmonology

The University of Arizona Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Sleep and Critical Care at Banner – University Medical Center clinical facilities in Tucson provides a comprehensive Interventional Pulmonary program and provides services to patient across the state of Arizona. The UA Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship Program provides comprehensive training to our future specialists in this area.

Methods & Procedures

This is to equip the clinicians with basic and advanced pulmonary procedural skills. These procedures are done via flexible or rigid bronchoscopes. A multitude of related technologies include fluoroscopy, ultrasound, endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) and electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy (ENB) — all used to assist with diagnostic accuracy. Several methods including hot therapies (electrocauterization, argon plasma coagulation, laser) or cold therapy (Cryoablation) are available to help remove granulation tissue, airway cancers, or to treat airway bleeding.

These advance procedures are done by board-certified specialists (American Association of Bronchology and Interventional Pulmonology) and a dedicated support team that includes highly skilled respiratory care specialists at the Endoscopy Suite or Operating Room. Most procedures are done under moderate sedation or general anesthesia. Bedside cytology (pathology) support by an experienced cytologist (ROSE, or rapid onsite cytology exam) is available for the majority of diagnostic procedures.

Lung Cancer

The Interventional Pulmonology team is part of multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Program (the Southwest Lung Cancer Program at the UA Cancer Center) along with Cardiothoracic Surgery, Medical Oncology and Radiation Oncology which combines excellent patient care with research to fight the No. 1 cause of cancer deaths for U.S. men and women. The team takes a comprehensive and individualized approach to patient care and offers a wide variety of services ranging from lung cancer screening, evaluation of abnormal chest imaging, lung cancer diagnosis, treatment of all stages of lung cancer incorporating research and supportive care.

Other Maladies

The Interventional Pulmonology team provides multidisciplinary care for patients with all aspects of central airway obstruction whether due to either malignant or non-malignant disease. The complex airway team includes Interventional Pulmonology, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, and Anesthesiology. Our goal is to provide a patient centered care in multidisciplinary fashion.

  • Patient Guidance

  • Procedures Performed

Reading material:
YARMUS, L., ERNST, A. and FELLER-KOPMAN, D. (2010), “Emerging technologies for the thorax: Indications, management and complications,” Respirology, 15: 208–219. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1843.2009.01680.x

Interventional Pulmonology Physicians:

James L. Knepler, MD
Professor of Medicine, UA College of Medicine – Tucson
Program Director, Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship
Associate Chief, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
Director, Interventional Pulmonology, Banner – University Medical Center Tucson


Afshin R. Sam MD
Associate Professor of Medicine, UA College of Medicine – Tucson