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Respiratory Care Services

A dedicated team of 19 respiratory therapists provides services at Meadville Medical Center.
The department is located at the Liberty St. facility, on the ground floor, near the Cardiac Care Department. The Sleep Lab is located on the fourth floor.

Respiratory care practitioners provide administration of aerosolized medications, bronchopulmonary hygiene, oxygen therapy, ventilator support, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, electrocardiograms, bronchoscopy, invasive cardiac testing, polysomnography, arterial blood gas analysis, complete pulmonary function testing, and pulmonary rehabilitation.

The staff is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for inpatients, and Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for outpatient services.

Diagnostic Tests Performed:
Spirometry with and without bronchodilators

Spirometry is a simple lung function test which measures the amount of air that can be forcibly exhaled after a deep breath and the amount of time required to forcibly exhale that breath. Spirometry can help in the diagnosis of lung diseases such as Emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma, and restrictive lung diseases. Additionally, OSHA requires all employees who wear respirators to have regular spirometry tests performed.

All patients must be scheduled for testing. Patients should not smoke or use inhaled bronchodilators for four hours prior to the test. Basic spirometry will be performed first and then a protocol will be followed to determine the need for bronchodilators unless specified by the physician.

Lung volumes and diffusion capacity
These tests provide more information regarding lung function and will be preformed according to protocol based on the spirometry results, unless specified by the ordering physician.

Pulmonary stress test with oximetry
Pulmonary stress tests combine a regular stress test with a pulse oximeter to measure oxygen levels. This test will help determine what your exercise capacity is, related heart or lung problems and determine the need for oxygen while exercising.  An arterial blood gas may also be performed before and during exercise.

Pulmonary stress test with spirometry
This pulmonary stress test is used to diagnose exercise induced asthma. First, spirometry is preformed, followed by an exercise stress test (walking on a tread mill). Then spirometry is preformed at timed intervals to determine your response to the exercise. Bronchodilators are given if indicated. 

These tests must be scheduled in the Cardiac Care Department.

Six minute walk
A time limited exercise test for evaluation of exercise capacity and oxygen saturation during exercise. A six minute walk test will be performed on all patients entering the pulmonary rehab program unless a stress test is indicated. A pulse oximeter will be used to monitor oxygen saturations during the test.

Bronchial provocation test with methacholine (methacholine challenge test)
This is a test to diagnose bronchial airway hyperactivity in subjects who do not have clinically apparent asthma but have chronic cough, recurrent respiratory infections or a history of wheezing without objective clinical documentation. The test should not be performed during pregnancy or on nursing mothers, during or within six weeks of a respiratory infection, on children under five years of age and on persons with clinically apparent asthma. The bronchial provocation test is an outpatient procedure and is scheduled in the pulmonary lab. It is administered by a respiratory therapist and a physician is readily available in the event of any problems or concerns. A bronchial provocation test takes about an hour.

Arterial blood gas
Arterial blood gas is an invasive procedure for assessment of oxygenation of arterial blood and the blood's acid-base balance. Outpatient arterial blood gases are performed in the phlebotomy room at Liberty Street by a respiratory therapist Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4:30 pm. You must register at the Registration Department and the respiratory therapist will then be paged.

Bronchoscopy is indicated in the assessment of airway anatomy, removal of foreign bodies, determination of the origin of hemoptysis and biopsy of accessible lesions. The procedure is performed by a physician, on inpatients and outpatients. A nurse and respiratory therapist are present during the procedure, which lasts about an hour and which may take place in the radiology department, procedure room or surgery. As an outpatient, the patient will be admitted to a patient room the morning of the procedure and will return to the room for about two hours after the procedure.

Outpatient Pulmonary Rehabilitation Programs:
The Breathing Easy Pulmonary Rehabilitation program is held each Tuesday and Thursday over 8-12 weeks for a total of 16 to 24 sessions lasting one and one-half hours each. The Pulmonary Rehabilitation program is the second program to be certified in the state of Pennsylvania by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.

We were also involved in the National Emphysema Treatment Trial research project and now are a satellite facility for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center lung volume reduction surgery program providing Rehabilitation for patients both before and after surgery.

Emotional support is considered an important part of pulmonary rehabilitation. Spouses, family members or other support people are encouraged to participate. Prior to entering the program, each patient will be individually evaluated to determine the need for diagnostic testing. A physician referral is needed and the program is covered by most insurance carriers.
Sleep Diagnostic Center

Polysomnography (sleep study) is a diagnostic study to evaluate the presence of sleep apnea.  Patients are monitored overnight to evaluate breathing patterns as they sleep. If sleep apnea is present, a follow up study may be performed to determine the type of treatment needed to alleviate the problem.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call the Sleep Diagnostic Center
at 814-333-5174.

Contact Information

Liberty Street Facility, Ground Floor,
Cardiac Care Department

Phone Number
(814) 333-5150
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