Services & Testing
Home Oxygen Evaluation
When patients are admitted to the hospital they sometimes need to have oxygen to help keep their oxygen levels within a normal range. Upon discharge, some patients may need to use oxygen short or long term. Respiratory therapists evaluate these patients to determine how much oxygen they may need and for what reason. Some patients may only need oxygen while resting or sleeping, others may need only with activity.
Pulse oximetry is a well-established tool routinely used to determine a patient’s arterial oxygen saturation and heart rate. For diagnosis and treatment of sleep-disordered breathing, overnight pulse oximetry helps determine the severity of disease and is used as an economical means to detect sleep apnea.
Pulmonary Function Testing
Pulmonary Function Testing assesses lung function to detect early to late stage lung diseases such as asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). This physician-ordered, simple test may include a bronchodilator to help analyze whether a breathing medicine can alleviate shortness of breath. A respiratory therapist instructs the patient on breathing while a machine measures lung volumes and flow rates.
Incentive spirometry encourages patients to take deep and slow breaths to assist in expansion of the lung. It is widely used by general medical and surgical patients. Incentive spirometry is accomplished by the use of a device that provides the patient with a visual feedback when they inhale for a minimum of 1-3 seconds. The primary goal of the procedure is to increase lung volumes and improve the performance of the respiratory muscles so that the entire lung expands. Many patients who undergo surgery develop atelectasis (fever and lung collapse) after the first few days. This is due to a combination of pain, lack of a cough reflex and continued shallow breathing. When the procedure is performed on a regular basis after surgery, the smaller airways remain open and collapse of the lung is prevented.