Pulmonologists in Savannah, Georgia
The pulmonary system controls our airways and breathing, which is critical to everyday life. The pulmonary doctors at Memorial Health provide expert care for patients with conditions affecting their lungs. Our board-certified pulmonologists are experts in alleviating breathing problems. We also work with the cardiac team to care for patients with related cardiopulmonary disorders.
To learn more about pulmonary services at our hospital, please call our Consult-A-Nurse® team at (912) 350-WELL (9355).
Types of pulmonary conditions
One of the most important functions of the pulmonary system is controlling ventilation. Ventilation refers to the process of air moving into and out of the lungs. Pulmonary conditions that interfere with ventilation are either restrictive or obstructive.
A restrictive condition occurs if the lung muscles are unable to expand adequately. When the chest is unable to expand all the way, it can create a disruption in air flow.
An obstructive condition occurs when air has a problem flowing into the lungs. This occurs because of resistance in the lungs, causing a decrease in the flow of air.
Dedicated diagnostic lung services
Our hospital has a diagnostics laboratory that offers a wide range of tests to help patients with lung and breathing disorders. The diagnostic laboratory is staffed by licensed pulmonary therapists and technologists. Testing services include:
- Airway resistance and conductance
- Arterial blood gas analysis and shunt studies
- Cardiopulmonary exercise studies
- Diffusion capacity
- Exercise oximetry
- Exercise spirometry
- Maximal inspiratory and expiratory mouth pressures
- Methacholine challenge study
- Pulmonary function tests
- Resting and exercise blood gas studies
- Static lung volumes
A bronchoscopy allows your doctor to view the passageways within the lower respiratory tract. They insert a long, narrow tube, called a bronchoscope, through the nose or mouth. Using the bronchoscope, your physician can see the voice box (larynx), windpipe (trachea), large airways to the lungs (bronchi) and smaller branches of the bronchi (bronchioles).
In addition to being an effective diagnostic tool, a bronchoscope can also be used to deliver oxygen, suction secretions, obtain tissue samples for biopsy, deliver medication and provide laser therapy.
During the procedure, most patients remain awake but are given a sedative to aid in relaxation. A numbing agent is sprayed in the throat to minimize discomfort. Following the procedure, patients remain in the hospital for a brief observation period and then are allowed to return home. Patients must arrange for a responsible adult to drive them home.
Pulmonary function tests
Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are noninvasive, diagnostic tests that provide important feedback about lung function. Pulmonary testing may vary, but includes assessments for lung volume, lung capacity, rates of flow and gas exchange. PFTs are helpful for determining the presence, location, cause and characteristics of a problem occurring in the pulmonary system.
Normal values for PFTs vary by person to person. The results are compared to the expected average for a person of the same age, height, sex and race of the patient.
Some PFTs use a spirometer, an instrument that measures how quickly air is inhaled and exhaled from the lungs while breathing through a mouthpiece. The measurements are recorded on a device called a spirograph.
In addition to measuring the inhalation and exhalation process, spirometry testing can also indicate how effectively oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged within the air sacs of the lungs (alveoli).
Certain types of PFTs are determined by plethysmography, such as thoracic gas volume and other lung volume measurements. During plethysmography testing, a person sits or stands inside an air-tight box that resembles a short, square telephone booth. While inside the box, we will evaluate changes in volume in the lungs
Lung cancer care
As part of our commitment to provide patients with comprehensive cancer care, we offer specialized lung cancer services. We treat patients with lung cancer and provide screening services to promote the early detection of lung cancer, when in its most treatable phase.
Our respiratory specialists work hard to treat and manage all types of respiratory disease. Pulmonary care and cardiology are closely related, as the lungs work in combination with the heart to carry oxygen throughout the body. Our team is trained to care for patients with cardiopulmonary conditions.
Our services include:
- Administering medications to help alleviate breathing problems and prevent respiratory infections
- Analyzing blood specimens to determine levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide and other gases
- Conducting rehabilitation activities, such as low-impact aerobic exercise classes, to help patients who suffer from chronic lung problems
- Maintaining a person’s artificial airway, one that may be in place to help somebody who can't breathe through normal means
- Measuring lung capacity to determine if there is impaired function
- Monitoring and managing lung therapy that helps people recover lung function
- Obtaining and analyzing sputum and breath specimens
- Operating and maintaining oxygen treatments
- Performing stress tests and other cardiopulmonary studies
- Smoking cessation programs
- Studying and treating disruptive sleep disorders
- Using mechanical ventilation for people who cannot breathe adequately on their own
Pulmonary rehabilitation is a useful resource if you have a chronic respiratory disease. It can help reduce symptoms, decrease disabilities, increase participation in activities of daily life and improve overall quality of life.
Our pulmonary rehabilitation program includes:
- Behavioral intervention
- Exercise training
To participate in pulmonary rehabilitation, you must quit smoking or begin a smoking cessation program. Participants attend rehabilitation twice a week for several weeks or months, depending on their individual needs.