Respiratory medicine is the service that diagnoses, treats and
provides continued care for patients with diseases that affect the
lungs and breathing. If required, your GP or other primary
care practitioner can refer you to the Bay of Plenty District
Health Board for respiratory function tests or to the Sleep
Disorder Breathing Clinic.
Common symptoms or signs of lung disease include: shortness of
breath, wheezing, long-term cough, phlegm, coughing up blood, and
having chest pains.
Once a referral has been received it is graded at Tauranga
Hospital by the Respiratory specialists and patients will be seen
in clinics at either Tauranga or Whakatāne Hospitals. Urgent cases
can be seen within hours, but other cases may have to wait a longer
period. Routine cases are often returned to the GP, unseen.
Requests for an assessment of the need for home oxygen are made
to the Respiratory service. Referrals can also be made for
specialist asthma and pulmonary rehabilitation programmes
Common Respiratory Procedures are:
This is an examination of the upper and lower airways (breathing
tubes), with a flexible fibre optic tube that is passed via the
nose into the passages of the lungs. The process may involve
removal of secretions, and taking of samples from the breathing
tubes. This examination is cone for symptoms such as coughing
up of blood, persistent cough, abnormal chest x-ray, shortness of
breath or suspected TB.
CT scans of internal organs, bones, soft tissue and blood
vessels provide greater clarity and reveal more details than
regular x-ray exams. A chest CT can show various lung
Fine Needle Aspiration
This is a diagnostic procedure used in addition to a CT scan
where a needle is inserted into the chest into a mass that needs
further investigation. Cells are sucked up into the needle
for further examination. This is normally carried out while
taking pictures with the CT scanner to guide the specialist as to
where to place the needle. Local anaesthetic is used so that
the test is not overly painful.
Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT's)
This test measures lung function, specifically the measurement
of the amount and speed of air that can be inhaled and exhaled.
Generally you will be asked to take the deepest breath you can and
then exhale into the sensor as hard as possible for as long as
possible. During the test, soft nose clips may be used to prevent
air escaping through the nose.
A sleep study is to assess disordered breathing during
Sleep Apnoea is a sleep disorder which occurs while people
sleep. This is the mostly due to blocking off of the breathing
passages around the mouth and nose. OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnoea).
Sufferers stop breathing at certain times during sleep - up to
hundreds of times a night. While not breathing the body is deprived
of oxygen. This causes a number of problems, particularly excessive
sleepiness during the day which can result, for example, in poor
work and school performances and falling asleep at the wheel of a
car. There may be problems with blood pressure and heart disease
Requests for an assessment of the need for home oxygen
are made to this service.
Referrals can also be made for specialist asthma and
pulmonary rehabilitation programmes.
February 22, 2016