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The Cystic Fibrosis Center and Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pulmonology at Stony Brook University Medical Center is advancing programs and services, thanks to several new physician faculty appointments and the new specialized infant pulmonary function testing (iPFT) equipment capable of measuring the lung function of tiny premature babies, infants and toddlers. The Division of Pediatric Pulmonology, lead by Dr. Catherine Kier, who is also Director of the Cystic Fibrosis Center, has appointed two new pediatric pulmonology specialists, and received a generous gift from the Stony Brook University Hospital Auxiliary which will be used to purchase new iPFT equipment, valued at approximately $100,000.

"Very few cystic fibrosis centers in the country have infant pulmonary testing equipment, and we are so grateful to the Auxiliary for their generosity, and recognizing this important need," said Dr. Kier. "This technology will give us more answers for babies with breathing problems especially for children under two years of age and premature infants."

"Identifying important programs and services where we can make a difference is a labor of love for the Auxiliary," said Caroline Levine, President of the SBUH Auxiliary Board, which has been working as a fundraising advocate for advancements at Stony Brook for 30 years. "When we heard what this testing equipment can do for children with respiratory health issues, we voted unanimously to fund it."

Dr. Kier said that the new iPFT machine will also help assess the smallest premature and most vulnerable patients with bronchopulmonary dysplasia, congenital abnormalities like diaphragmatic hernia, and bronchiolitis.

"Optimizing the medical and surgical outcomes for these patients would be greatly facilitated by having periodic and accurate assessments of their pulmonary status," she says.

Dr. Kier explained that in older children who are able to follow instructions, lung function is checked through a test called spirometry, which measures airflow as a child blows out into a tube. When children are too young, or when they are unable to follow instructions, lung function is measured with infant pulmonary function testing (iPFT) which requires special equipment to measure lung function while the child is asleep. iPFT is safe and can be performed on tiny and premature babies. Previously, when SBUMC physicians had to test the pulmonary function of children younger than 2 years, they needed to be referred to another institution. That will no longer be the case with the new iPFT diagnostic equipment.

To further broaden and elevate the level of services provided by the Center, the Department of Pediatrics has appointed Dr. Khalid S. Ahmad, M.D., and Dr. Kevin N. Kuriakose as Assistant Professors of Pediatrics within the Division of Pulmonology, Allergy and Immunology. Dr. Ahmad specializes in the diagnosis and management of pediatric sleep disorders including sleep apnea, insomnia, parasomnias (night terrors, sleep walking) and delayed sleep phase syndrome. Dr. Kuriakose’s clinical interests are in pediatric asthma management and education.

"The expansion of our Pediatric Pulmonology program and this new technology really help us offer essential physician access and diagnostic services to our youngest, most vulnerable patients and their families," says Steven L. Strongwater, M.D., CEO of Stony Brook University Hospital. "It's another step toward our mission to expand critical pediatric services on Long Island, so the families in our community do not have to travel for hours to get high quality care for their loved ones."

Accredited by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation since 1990, the Cystic Fibrosis Center at Stony Brook University Medical Center oversees the care of more than 100 patients, from birth through adulthood. The Center includes a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, respiratory and pulmonary therapists, social workers, nutritionists and genetic counselors who care for patients and their families. For more information contact Stony Brook University Health Connect at 631-444-4000.
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