Health Care

AdventHealth Ocala Using Innovative Technology for Lung Cancer Diagnosis

Ocala, FL – AdventHealth Ocala is the 14th hospital in Florida and the first in Marion County to implement the innovative MONARCH™ platform to fight lung cancer. According to the manufacturer, the MONARCH™ technology integrates the latest advancements in robotics, software, data science, and endoscopy to find cancer in the lung in earlier stages. Combining traditional endoscopic views into the lung with computer-assisted navigation based on 3-D models of the patient’s own lung anatomy, the MONARCH™ Platform provides physicians with continuous vision of the lungs/nodules throughout the entire procedure.

MONARCH robot in AdventHealth Ocala OR

“We are excited to add this option technology to our facility as we continue to build on our Lung Cancer Screening Center of Excellence designation and offer a more hopeful future for our patients with lung cancer,” said Dr. Michael Torres, Chief Medical Officer, AdventHealth Ocala. "We made a promise when we came to Ocala, to invest in the most advanced technology and the best doctors so that we could elevate the quality of care for this community, and this equipment is another fulfillment to that promise.”

Dr. Raj Karunakara demonstrates MONARCH at AdventHealth Ocala
Dr. Andrew Seevaratnam demonstrates MONARCH at AdventHealth Ocala

The navigation software is used to view the inside of the lungs and gives doctors the ability to see hard-to-reach lung nodules that other diagnostic equipment such as needle biopsy cannot get to. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death in the world in part because it is often found at an advanced stage.

“We are focused on earlier detection and diagnosis of lung cancer to increase the chances of survival in our community,” said Dr. Raj G. Karunakara, Medical Director of the Lung Health program at AdventHealth Ocala. “By adding the MONARCH™ robotic technology, we now have the ability to diagnose lung cancer in those harder to reach peripheral nodules like never before - enhancing our ability to treat patients and help them return to a better quality of life.”

Dr. Raj Karunakara and his team at AdventHealth Ocala
Dr. Raj Karunakara and the lung team at AdventHealth Ocala

The MONARCH™ Platform allows Dr. Raj Karunakara and Dr. Andrew Seevaratnam to navigate a small camera inserted into the lung through a patient’s mouth/airway and see more areas along the edge of the lungs with better reach, vision, and control for physicians.

“Dr. Raj gave me two options, either try and stick a needle in the side of my lung and risk my lung collapsing or use this new equipment where they’d have better luck,” said David Haswell, MONARCH™ patient at AdventHealth Ocala. “They found it and now I know what’s going on and have a plan to move forward.”

AdventHealth Ocala is a designated Screening Center of Excellence for Lung Care by the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer. The hospital has been recognized for its ongoing commitment to lung cancer screening and to complying with comprehensive standards based on best practices developed by professional organizations such as the American College of Radiology, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and the International Early Lung Cancer Action Program.

About AdventHealth Ocala

AdventHealth Ocala is a 410-bed full-service community hospital that opened in 1898. In August 2018, AdventHealth Ocala became a part of the AdventHealth network. The facility is 640,000 square feet and sits on 15-acres. Within the hospital network there are two 24/7 ER facilities, one onsite and another offsite, to better meet the needs of Marion County. The onsite ER has both an adult and children’s emergency department that has over 50 combined beds with the ability to treat many conditions and injuries. Established in 2002, the offsite ER, AdventHealth TimberRidge ER, is a 24-hour full-service emergency department with 16 private rooms and was the first offsite ER in the state of Florida. The hospital offers many inpatient services including, labor and delivery through The Baby Place®, Orthopedic unit, comprehensive cardiovascular surgery unit, and a wound care center. AdventHealth Ocala is accredited The Joint Commission and has received recognition from American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. They are accredited by the American College of Cardiology in Chest Pain, Heart Failure, Cardiac Cath Lab, Electrophysiology, Transcatheter Valve Certified and awarded the HeartCARE™ Center designation. They are also a Certified Advanced Primary Stroke Center as well as a Center of Excellence in Robotic Surgery.