Overview of the Thoracic Diseases Program

At Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, the Thoracic Diseases Program provides diagnosis and treatment for the entire spectrum of diseases affecting the chest. These include pulmonary, mediastinal, pleural, and chest wall diseases, and can b​e linked to other diseases, such as cancers or infections.

For diagnosis and treatment, the multidisciplinary team uses the latest techniques and technologies. The program aims to use minimally invasive techniques as much as possible, in order to reduce surgical trauma and to shorten the patient’s recovery period.

​What We Treat​

The Thoracic Diseases Program treats a wide range of thoracic diseases including: tumors, diseases affecting the thyroid glands or lymph nodes, sweat glands, and deformities of the chest wall. The term thoracic refers to the chest cavity, also known as the thoracic cavity

Depending on the disease, treatments include interventions within the thoracic cavity. This area includes the lungs, the chest wall, and the lower respiratory tract.

In some cases, thoracic surgery is required to treat specific aspects of other diseases, such as certain forms of cancer.

Diagnosis & Treatment of Thoracic Diseases

Diagnosis of Thoracic Diseases​​

General thoracic diseases include a range of conditions involving the chest cavity. Diagnosis and treatment will be highly specific to individual patients, depending on the diagnosis. 
Diagnosis of thoracic diseases often requires diagnostic tests and procedures, such as:
  • Computed tomography (CT scans): A scan that provides detailed pictures of the inside of the chest.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): A scan that uses radio waves and magnets to provide images of the chest.
  • Biopsy: A noninvasive procedure to obtain a tissue sample from the chest for analysis.
  • Thoracoscopy: A procedure in which a flexible tube is inserted through an incision in the chest in order to view the lungs and surrounding area.
Treatment of Thoracic Diseases​

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi provides the entire continuum of care for patients undergoing any kind of thoracic disease treatment for the following conditions.​

Mediastinal and Tumor Diseases

These are diseases that develop in the center of the thoracic cavity, including the following conditions:

  • Thymoma / teratoma/ lymphoma
  • Thyroid goiter
  • Congenital cyst & tumors
  • Lymph node disorders, such as tuberculosis and sarcoidosis
Treatments include minimally invasive surgery and video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS), as well as video mediastinoscopy, and endobronchial ultra sound (EBUS).​

Pleural Diseases

Pleural diseases cause an accumulation of air or fluid inside the chest.
Pleural effusion is the presence of fluid inside the chest cavity, often caused by another disease, such as cancer or an infection. Early diagnosis and treatment are done through thoracoscopy.
Pneumothorax is the presence of air inside the chest cavity due to rupture of blebs (small air sacs that form in the lung tissue).  When recurrent, the treatment is VATS.


Hyperhydrosis is the excessive sweating of the hands and underarms. Thoracic surgeons can treat this by performing a VATS sympathectomy. This is a minimally invasive procedure to remove or clip a small part of the sympathetic nerve causing the sweating.
Interstitial Lung Diseases

​Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is a large group of lung diseases characterized by progressive scarring of the insterstitium – the tissue and space around the air sacs of the lungs. These diseases include:
  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
  • Interstitial pneumonias
  • Pulmonary vasculitis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Asbestosis

Minimally invasive surgical options, such as VATS and endobronchial biopsies, are the best tools for diagnosis, and to start the specific treatment for individual diseases.

Chest Wall Diseases
These include several congenital and acquired diseases.

Pectus excavatum (sunken chest) is the most frequent congenital deformity, in which the breastbone and adjacent ribs protrude into the chest, causing a sunken appearance. The best treatment, when applicable, is the VATS Nuss procedure, in which bars are inserted into the chest to elevate the inward protrusion of the sternum. These bars will remain in the body for one to two years, and are then removed. Other open-chest surgery techniques, such as the Ravitch procedure, are also available at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. 

Pectus carinatum (pigeon chest) is a deformity of the chest characterized by an outward protrusion of the sternum and ribs. Open-chest surgery is required to reconstruct the chest.

The General Thoracic Diseases Program also can remove chest wall tumors through surgical procedures, such as biopsies and resections. 

Other Thoracic Diseases

The following thoracic diseases can also sometimes require surgical treatment:

  • Tracheal stenosis: A narrowing of the windpipe, which can be a result of other medical treatments.
  • Diaphragmatic disorders: Disorders such as hernias, paralysis, and tumors.
  • Tuberculosis: A disease that can sometimes require surgical management. 

The Thoracic Disease Program is composed of a multidisciplinary team who uses an integrated, Patients First approach. Caregivers involved in patient care for this program are:

  • Thoracic surgeons
  • Pulmonologists
  • Endoscopists
  • Anesthesiologists 
  • Intensive Care Unit physicians 
  • Specialized nurses
  • Respiratory therapists​


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