About PulmonologistsFind a Doctor
A Pulmonologist specializes in respiratory medicine and diseases involving the respiratory tract, comprising the chest and lungs including the bronchial tubes, upper respiratory tract and even the heart. It is a branch of Internal Medicine.
The pulmonologist begins the diagnostic process of identifying and treating illness or injury in the lungs an chest due to both internal and external causes including exposure to pollutants such as asbestos, exhaust fumes and tobacco smoke, pulmonary fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension. Pulmonologists listen for breath and lung sounds, called rales or rhonchi, over stethoscope. They are also able to identify heart diseases which can have pulmonary signs.
Diseases and conditions that a Pulmonologist is specially trained in treating can include hereditary diseases such as cystic fibrosis, pneumonia, asthma, tuberculosis, emphysema, chest infections, acute respiratory condition or chronic respiratory diseases and disorders that may require life support and mechanical ventilation.
Treatment carried out by Pulmonologists extend from specialized procedures such as obtaining samples from the inside of the chest or lungs (transbronchial and endobronchial biopsy,) Spirometry (measuring lung volumes,) blood tests and other laboratory tests, taking blood gas measurements, Bronchoscopy, Chest X-rays, CT scanning, Positron emission tomography (PET) and Polysomnography (sleep study.)
Pulmonologists work in conjunction with a number of other medical professionals including providing combined treatment with the expertise of a Family Doctor/General Practitioner, Sleep Disorders physician, Emergency Medicine/Critical Care, Radiologists as well as Cardiothoracic Surgeons.