Breathing is an automatic function of the body. Most of us do this without ever even thinking about it. But we can become painfully aware of our breathing when that process is obstructed or we develop an infection or ailment of the lungs. You can breathe easy at the Green Clinic Pulmonology department.
Pulmonology involves the assessment and treatment of diseases of the lungs and associated airways. A pulmonologist is a physician who specializes in the prevention and treatment of those diseases. Pulmonary diseases include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, bronchitis, pneumonia, and asthma. At Green Clinic we also include those patients suffering from sleep apnea, offering state-of-the-art continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines to help you get a full night’s sleep.
To get a clear picture of your pulmonary health, your doctor may recommend a series of tests at the Pulmonary Lab when you are experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, or wheezing. These tests might include:
- Pulmonary Function Test – This test measures lung volumes and air flow and helps with the diagnosis of an obstructive lung disease, such as asthma or emphysema, or a restrictive lung disease, such as pulmonary fibrosis or sarcoid.
- Arterial Blood Gases – This test involves a needle puncture into an artery to withdraw a blood sample of oxygenated blood. It provides the physician with information on how well oxygen is being distributed to the body and how well carbon dioxide is being eliminated from the body by the lungs.
- Nebulizer Therapy – During this procedure, medication for the treatment of asthma or emphysema is inhaled through a mouthpiece.
- Education – One of the major goals of the pulmonary lab involves education for the patient and the family. The focus of the education is to promote the prevention and treatment of diseases of the lungs. Such education includes proper breathing techniques for the patient with compromised lung capacity, correct medication administration, and review of the disease process and its severity.
In addition, the following procedures may be scheduled either on an inpatient or an outpatient basis:
Bronchoscopy – This procedure allows for direct visualization of the trachea and bronchial tubes via a lighted scope. It is useful in the diagnosis of lung cancer, pneumonia and other pulmonary diseases.
- Thoracentesis – This test involves a surgical puncture into the lung cavity and allows for drainage of fluid from the lung cavity. This can be used to diagnose certain lung conditions that result in an accumulation of fluid in the chest cavity and is also therapeutic when the fluid accumulation causes shortness of breath.
The Pulmonary Lab at Green Clinic is under the direction of Dr. Thomas P. Smith, a board certified pulmonologist who joined Green Clinic in 1983. Dr. Smith’s technical staff includes Laura Futch, a licensed certified respiratory therapist and Ashley Walpole, a nurse practitioner. For more information, please contact Laura Futch at (318) 251-6321.