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Respiratory Physiology

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Respiratory physiology department

Respiratory Physiology is part of the Heart and Lung unit in the Oxford Suite at the county Hospital. It is open 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, telephone 01432 372940.

What do we do?

The department carries out a wide range of basic and specialist respiratory investigations and therapeutic assessments including:

  • Full lung function tests for people experiencing breathing problems
  • Spirometry which measures the amount of air you can blow out
  • Bronchodilator response which assesses if respiratory drugs designed to open up airways will be beneficial to specific patients
  • Bronchial challenge tests that measure how reactive a patient's airways are
  • Body Plethysmography which provides additional information on lung function such as total thoracic gas volume, airways resistance and so on
  • Respiratory Muscle tests that assesses respiratory muscle strength/weakness
  • Allergy testing to assesses if a patient demonstrates an allergic reaction to specific allergens such as grass pollen or cat dander
  • Capillary Blood Gas (CBG) testing which is a blood test to assess a patient's blood gas status. This allows for the assessment of the oxygen and carbon dioxide content within the blood

These tests provide valuable information to help assess people’s lung capacity, airway calibre, transfer of gases and can confirm or exclude suspected muscle weakness or suspected atopy. We also offer a comprehensive sleep disorder breathing service, oxygen assessment and cardio-pulmonary exercise testing.

Sleep Disorder Breathing Service

Patients who are referred for assessment in the sleep clinic will be screened for possible sleep disorders and undergo a 1 to 1 consultation with routine medical investigations and a variety of home or inpatient sleep studies. These include overnight oximetry, airflow measurements and respiratory polysomnography.

If someone is found to have Obstructive Sleep Apnoea a trial of auto titrating Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) will be provided. The sleep services are overseen by Dr Ryan and Dr Phillips.

What is CPAP Therapy?

Once a diagnosis has been made, access to a wide range of equipment becomes available to help with treatment. This may include input from either the ENT or Orthodontics departments.

Patient involvement

Part of the service is to include patients as much as possible, so although it is the doctor’s role to give information regarding the results of investigations, the Respiratory Physiology Department will endeavour to include patients as much as possible in their consultations, specifically on how to perform the tests effectively and why they are being done.

Useful Links

  Air Products
  Allergy UK
  Asthma UK
  Benefits Advice
  British Lung Foundation
  Cheltenham Hospital
  Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
  Heartlands Hospital Birmingham
  Macmillan Cancer Support
  Mesothelioma UK
  NHS Smoking Helpline
  Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
  The Cystic Fibrosis Trust
  University Hospital Birmingham

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