Academic Hospital Cologne-Merheim

location_on Cologne, Germany
8.9/10 from 23 Votes

Department of Thoracic Surgery, Pulmonology, Pulmonary Oncology, Somnology and Respiratory Medicine (274435)

Erich Stoelben

Prof. Dr. med.

Erich Stoelben

Specialized in: thoracic surgery, pulmonology, pulmonary oncology, somnology, respiratory medicine

About the Department of Thoracic Surgery, Pulmonology, Pulmonary Oncology, Somnology and Respiratory Medicine at Academic Hospital Cologne-Merheim

The Department of Thoracic Surgery, Pulmonology, Pulmonary Oncology, Somnology and Respiratory Medicine at the Academic Hospital Cologne-Merheim offers the full range of medical services in these fields. The department provides the highly accurate diagnostics and modern treatment of all diseases of the thoracic organs, with the exception of the heart. One of the department's primary focuses is lung cancer treatment, which is provided within the specialized center certified in accordance with the standards of the German Cancer Society. The department also includes the Weaning Center, the activities of which are certified by the German Society for Pulmonology and Respiratory Medicine.

The department is headed by Prof. Dr. med. Erich Stoelben. According to the Focus magazine, the doctor regularly ranks among the top German doctors specializing in lung cancer treatment.

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancer pathologies. In case of early detection of the disease, the patient has a high chance of a favorable treatment outcome. The team of the department's doctors is convinced that the interdisciplinary approach provides optimal results in cancer treatment, and therefore not only the attending physician works with the patient, but also the specialists in thoracic surgery, oncologists, radiation therapists, chemotherapists and other doctors. Depending on the particular clinical case, the course of treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy. An important component of the therapeutic process is psycho-oncological care, thanks to which the patient can more easily tolerate the difficulties caused by cancer treatment. The department's specialists have unique experience in the field of surgical procedures to treat lung malignancies. The surgeons actively apply sparing techniques of video-assisted thoracic surgery, as well as perform extensive open operations with resection of a lobe of the lung. The operations to remove lung metastasis are also successfully performed.

The department has the status of the supraregional Cystic Fibrosis Center specializing in the treatment of patients over the age of 16 years. The team of pulmonologists also specializes in treatment of benign lesions of the respiratory system, such as interstitial lung diseases, chronic obstructive bronchitis and emphysema, bronchial asthma, infectious lung diseases, tuberculosis, pulmonary hypertension and many others.

The department has excellent diagnostic options, which guarantees the accurate diagnostics and selection of the optimal treatment regimen. The department has a Laboratory for Pulmonary Function Testing, within which the patients can undergo bodyplethysmography, measurement of the diffusing capacity of the lungs, provocative inhalation tests, spiroergometry, etc. The department also has advanced equipment for bronchoscopic procedures. These include a flexible fibrobronchoscopy, including transbronchial lung biopsy and bronchoalveolar lavage, interventional rigid bronchoscopy under anesthesia with bougienage, dilatation and laser ablation of stenoses caused by tumors, foreign body removal from the respiratory tract, stent implantation in case of bronchial and tracheal stenosis, internal thoracoscopy under local anesthesia in case of uncomplicated pleural effusions, endobronchial ultrasound.

The team of the department's thoracic surgeons annually performs more than 3,300 surgical interventions on thoracic organs. These operations mostly deal with the resection of lung malignancies. The experts have rich experience in organ-preserving operations and try to avoid pneumonectomy (total lung removal).

Functional thoracic surgery focuses on the treatment of emphysema (particularly, lung volume reduction surgery), diaphragmatic paralysis and diaphragmatic paresis.

The department's range of medical services includes:

  • Pulmonology
    • Diagnostics and treatment of benign and malignant lung tumors (bronchial carcinoma, carcinoid tumors, lung metastases)
    • Diagnostics and treatment of pleural and diaphragmatic tumors (pleural cancer, pleural mesothelioma)
    • Diagnostics and treatment of mediastinal tumors (thymomas, thymic cysts, teratomas, lymphomas)
    • Diagnostics and treatment of chest wall tumors (lipomas, fibromas, chondromas, sarcomas, thoracic wall metastases)
    • Diagnostics and treatment of thoracic deformities (pectus excavatum and pectus carinatum) in collaboration with thoracic surgeons
    • Diagnostics and treatment of interstitial lung diseases
    • Diagnostics and treatment of chronic obstructive bronchitis and pulmonary emphysema
    • Diagnostics and treatment of bronchial asthma
    • Diagnosis and treatment of infectious lung diseases (bacterial and viral diseases, mycoses)
    • Diagnostics and treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis and extrapulmonary tuberculosis, including multidrug-resistant forms and atypical mycobacteriosis
    • Diagnostics and treatment of occupational lung diseases (silicosis, asbestosis, etc.)
    • Diagnostics and treatment of pleural diseases (pneumothorax, benign and malignant pleural effusion, pleural empyema)
    • Diagnostics and treatment of pulmonary hypertension
    • Diagnostics and treatment of cystic fibrosis in adults
    • Diagnostics and treatment of rare lung diseases (Wegener's granulomatosis, histiocytosis X, eosinophilic pneumonia, obliterating bronchiolitis with organizing pneumonia)
    • Diagnostics and preparation for lung transplantation
    • Diagnostics and treatment of lymphangioleiomyomatosis 
  • Thoracic surgery
    • Surgical treatment of benign and malignant thoracic tumors
    • Surgical treatment of lung metastases
    • Surgical treatment of hyperhidrosis
    • Laryngotracheal surgery
    • Surgical treatment of pulmonary fibrosis
    • Surgical treatment of pneumothorax
    • Surgical correction of thoracic deformities (pectus excavatum and pectus carinatum)
  • Pulmonary oncology
    • Diagnostics and treatment of thoracic malignancies
      • Classical open surgery
      • Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery
      • Radiation therapy
      • Chemotherapy
  • Somnology
    • Diagnostics and treatment of sleep-related breathing disorders
  • Respiratory medicine
    • All types of invasive and non-invasive ventilation
    • Weaning
  • Other medical services

Curriculum vitae of Prof. Dr. med. Erich Stoelben


  • 1982 - 1983 Study of Physics at the University of Erlangen.
  • 1983 - 1987 Study of Human Medicine at the University of Marburg.
  • One-year practice in Internal Medicine and Otolaryngology, Marburg.
  • One-year practice in General and Vascular Surgery, Bordeaux.
  • 23.11.1990 Doctoral thesis defense with honors, Institute of Pathology, University of Marburg. Subject: "Determination of estrogen receptors in breast cancer using histo- and biochemical methods".

Professional Career

  • 1988 - 1991 Assistant Physician, Department of Surgery and Intensive Care Unit in the Department of Anesthesiology, LVA Baden Thoracic Clinic, Heidelberg-Rohrbach.
  • 1991 - 1993 Research Fellow, Department of Surgery, University Hospital Mannheim.
  • 1991 - 1993 Research Fellow, Department of Abdominal, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden.
  • 1999 - 2004 Leading Senior Physician and Representative of the Department Head, Department of Thoracic Surgery, University Hospital Freiburg.
  • 1995 Board certification in Surgery.
  • 1997 Specialization in Thoracic Surgery.
  • 1999 Specialization in Vascular Surgery.
  • 2003 On-the-job training in Quality Management (200 hours). Implementation of DIN ISO 9001:2000 in the Department of Thoracic Surgery.
  • 2004 01 Habilitation and Venia legendi at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Freiburg
  • 02.2004 Invitation to the position of C3 Professor in Surgery with a focus on thoracic and vascular surgery at the Faculty of Medicine of the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden (05.2004 refusal).
  • 01.2005 Chief Physician of the Department of Pulmonology, Kliniken der Stadt Köln gGmbH.
  • 10.2009 Elected Secretary of the German Society for Thoracic Surgery.
  • 07.2011 Appointed as Extraordinary Professor at the University of Cologne.
  • 11.2011 Appointed as Member of the Expert Commission on Medical Errors of the Medical Association of North Rhine.
  • 01.2013 Invitation to the Department of Thoracic Surgery, Faculty of Health, Witten-Herdecke University.

Photo of the doctor: (c) Kliniken der Stadt Köln gGmbH 

Department of Thoracic Surgery, Pulmonology, Pulmonary Oncology, Somnology and Respiratory Medicine.
Academic Hospital Cologne-Merheim:

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