Cookeville – Dr. Swaroopa Rani Nalamalapu (Dr. Nala) knew early on she wanted to be in medicine.
“I have a family member who spent some time in the ICU,” she said. “I just knew I somehow wanted to be in critical care.”
Born in a small remote town in India, Nala attended medical school in Vijayawada, India, then came to America to complete her post-doctoral research fellowship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She then went on to complete her internal medicine residency at Greater Baltimore Medical Center and then a pulmonary and critical care fellowship at East Carolina University/Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, North Carolina.
Prior to medical school, she worked at Chandamama Children’s Hospital in India as a medical officer.
“That is a community hospital that had a scarcity of doctors and gave me an opportunity to learn and contribute in highly demanding circumstances,” she said.
She also worked in other hospitals throughout India, taking care of patients with various diseases.
“The number one reason I got into critical care and pulmonology was to work in the bronch lab,” she said. “I love that aspect of care.”
Bronchoscopies are done in the bronch lab. It’s a procedure that lets doctors look at your lungs and air passages. During the procedure, a thin tube (bronchoscope) is passed through your nose or mouth, down your throat and into your lungs.
Reasons for a bronchoscopy include diagnosing a persistent cough, infection or something unusual seen on a chest X-ray or other test.
It can also be used to obtain samples of mucus or tissue, to remove foreign bodies or other blockages from the airways or lungs, or to provide treatment for lung problems.
She also enjoys the challenge of the field, and that its continuous, evolving energy gives her satisfaction.
She chose Cookeville Regional to practice due to its size – and the fact that everything she needs to help patients is here.
One thing she wants to do is grow the pulmonary hypertension program, which takes a team approach.
“It’s a very complex disease,” she said.
Pulmonary hypertension happens when pressure in the blood vessels leading from the heart to the lungs is too high. With pulmonary hypertension, the blood vessels to the lungs develop an increased amount of muscle in the wall of the blood vessels.
It cannot be cured, but treatments can reduce the symptoms and help manage the condition.
“We are very happy to have Dr. Nala join the pulmonology team,” said Paul Korth, Cookeville Regional CEO. “The number of patients needing pulmonary care has grown significantly in the last five years. She brings a wealth of experience to the team.”
When Dr. Nala is not in the clinic, she is enjoying the outdoors.
She is taking new patients. Call 931-783-2143 to set up an appointment.
The Cookeville Regional Pulmonary and Critical Care clinic is at 145 W. 4th St., suite 201, in the Professional Office Building.