Chest Physician( Pulmonologist )
Pulmonology is considered a branch of internal medicine, and is related to intensive care medicine. Pulmonology often involves managing patients who need life support and mechanical ventilation. Pulmonologists are specially trained in diseases and conditions of the chest, particularly pneumonia, asthma, tuberculosis, emphysema, and complicated chest infections.
What is a pulmonologist?
These specialists diagnose and treat conditions that affect the respiratory system in men and women, as well as children. Pulmonologists have expertise in the following types of respiratory disorders:
- neoplastic, which means having to do with a tumor
In some instances, this extends to the cardiovascular system. Certain conditions, such as pulmonary vascular disease, can first affect the respiratory system but go on to affect other organs in the body.
A pulmonologist may work in their own office or as part of a multidisciplinary practice. They can also work in hospital settings, particularly in intensive care units.
What conditions do pulmonologists treat?
Conditions pulmonologists commonly treat include:
- bronchiectasis, a condition that involves inflammation and excess mucus
- bronchitis, which happens when you have inflamed lower airways
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which causes an airflow blockage
- emphysema, which happens when the alveoli in your lungs are damaged
- Interstitial lung diseases, which affect the space and tissue within the lung
- occupational lung diseases, which can occur due to the inhalation of dusts, chemicals, or proteins
- Obstructive sleep apnea, which causes your breathing to slow or stop entirely when you’re sleeping.
What procedures do pulmonologists use?
Pulmonologists can use and interpret exams and tests to help determine a lung-related diagnosis. These may include the following:
- CT Scan to get detailed images of the bones, muscles, fat organs, and blood vessels in your chest
- chest fluoroscopy, an X-ray test to see how well your lungs are functioning
- chest ultrasound to examine the organs and other chest structures
- pleural biopsy to remove a small tissue sample from the pleura, which is the membrane that surrounds your lungs
- Pulmonary function test, a breathing test to see how well your lungs are working
- Pulse oximetry test to determine the oxygen saturation level in your blood
- Thoracentesis to remove and sample fluid from around your lungs
- chest tube to remove air or fluid from around your lungs
- Bronchoscopy to examine your airway and determine if you have any issues in your trachea, lower airways, throat, or larynx
- sleep study to help diagnose sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea
In the case of more serious lung diseases and conditions, a pulmonologist may refer you to a chest surgeon for procedures, such as a lobectomy to remove a portion of a diseased lung or a lung transplant.