Mater Private Cork Leading The Way In Testing For Respiratory Diseases

Published Sunday, March 10th, 2019 at 00:16 am

  • Cork

Mater Private Cork Leading The Way In Testing For Respiratory Diseases

ARE your lungs not working properly? A large number of people in Ireland suffer from asthma. In fact, this country has the 4th highest prevalence of the illness worldwide. Such a statistic suggests that more of us should not ignore any warning signs and undergo a test for this and other respiratory diseases.

Daniela Freire, Senior Respiratory Physiologist at Mater Private Hospital Cork said: “Respiratory diseases make up 5 of the 30 most common causes of death and COPD is the third leading cause of death. Globally, four million people die prematurely from respiratory diseases, including COPD which underlines the need for prevention, control and to prioritise the promotion of respiratory health. About 65 million people worldwide suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and three million die from it each year*. Ireland has the 4th highest prevalence of asthma worldwide - 470,000 people affected (1 in 8 of population). Asthma is the most common chronic disease in childhood and the most common respiratory condition in this country.**”

Mater Private Cork offers Pulmonary Function tests (PFTs), also known as lung function tests, which are a group of tests that measure how well your lungs work. This includes how well you are able to breath and how effective your lungs are able to bring oxygen to the rest of the body. This information will help your healthcare provider to diagnose and decide the treatment of certain breathing disorders.

Such tests may be performed for Diagnostic Purposes - to determine the cause of presenting symptoms; for Monitoring Purposes - monitoring the state or progression of the disease and to optimize therapeutics; for Therapy Assessment – some treatments (i.e. Rheumatology and Oncology) have adverse effects on the respiratory system and in these cases the test is used to assess side affects and guide future treatment. PFT’s can also be undertaken to assess the risk of developing diseases (occupational heath) or pre- surgery assessment.

Before the test starts the Physiologist will explain the test to you in detail and will answer any questions that you may have regarding it.

During the tests you will be seated and asked to breathe in and out on a machine through a disposable mouthpiece. Your nose will be sealed using a nose clip.

The test or tests performed will depend on the clinical question being asked upon referral. The routine PFT’s performed are:

  • Spirometry - measures how and individual inhales or exhales volumes of air as function of time
  • Diffusion Capacity using Carbon Monoxide - provides information about the transfer of oxygen between the alveoli and the pulmonary-capillary blood
  • Lung Volumes - used to classify restrictive diseases and the air-trapping in the lungs

Additional testing (specialized tests such as Bronchial Challenge Tests and others) may be required depending in the initial results obtained in the initial assessment.

Before each appointment for the test you will be asked:

  • Do not smoke within at least one hour of testing
  • Do not consume alcohol within four hours of testing
  • Do not undertake vigorous exercise within 30 minutes of testing
  • Do not wear restrictive clothing
  • Do not eat a large meal within two hours of testing
  • Do not take the bronchodilators (if possible) – during the test if necessary, it will be administered with an inhaler and a post-spirometry to assesse the response of the lung capacity to the medication
The Respiratory Physiologists at Mater Private Cork are part of large a multidisciplinary team that include specialist nurses, doctors specializing in respiratory and/or sleep medicine, physiotherapist and others.
The role of a Respiratory Physiologist is to conduct the patient in the performance of the tests using a variety of skills, techniques and equipment’s. As a respiratory physiologist you will work with patients who have lung, chest, airway or oxygenation problems to understand the causes of the disorder and how they response to the prescribed treatments.
If you are experiencing any respiratory symptoms or if you are in contact with any potential hazard (tobacco, asbestos) contact your GP who may refer you to Mater Private Cork to perform the necessary tests, without delay.
For more information contact Daniela Freire, Senior Respiratory Physiologist, Mater Private Cork on 021 6013318.
*Source - The Forum of International Respiratory Societies from the European Respiratory Society (ERS)
**Source – Health Service Executive

Pictured l to r: Dr Sarah Landers, Consultant Respiratory Physician, Daniela Freire, Senior Respiratory Physiologist and Gillian Barrett, Respiratory Nurse at Mater Private Cork. Picture courtesy of Irish Examiner.