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Respiratory Therapy

Respiratory therapy services are provided by a highly qualified team of Registered Respiratory Therapists (RRTs) who operate around the clock throughout the Hospital in the operating room, neonatal intensive care unit, critical care areas, emergency department, and all patient care units.

These therapists are integral members of the healthcare team providing service to the cardiac arrest and trauma team, neonatal deliveries, artificial ventilation, oxygen therapy, respiratory assessments, inhalation therapy, airway management and patient education.

Out-Patient Tests & Services
The Medicine Program offers several out-patient tests, including Pulmonary Function Test, Asthma Challenge Test, and Exercise-Induced Asthma Test. There are some details about each of these tests below.

A doctor's referral is required for these tests and certain medications are not to be taken prior to these tests. Your doctor or the respiratory therapist will discuss with you which medications you can and cannot take before your scheduled visit.

Pulmonary Function Test
A Pulmonary Function Test is a series of breathing tests that measure the capacity and effectiveness of your lungs in order to assess and determine if your lungs are functioning properly. These breathing tests are an essential component of the clinical assessment of patients with respiratory complaints.

A complete Pulmonary Function Test takes approximately 45 minutes to complete. You will be asked to breathe into a tube called a "spirometer" which records the amount of air and air rate breathed over a specified period of time.

The Pulmonary Function Test is comprised of 4 tests:

  • Test #1 – measures the force of your breathing and air flow. You will be instructed to breathe normally into the tube and then take a big breath in and blow all of the air out as fast and as hard as you can. Then you will be instructed to breathe in as fast, hard and deep as you can. This is repeated at least twice.

  • Test #2 – measures the total volume of air in your lungs. You will be sitting in a clear booth with the door closed. You will begin by breathing normally through a mouthpiece for one minute. Next, you will be instructed to inhale fully and gently exhale. Then you will “pant” in and out for one minute. In the last three to five seconds of panting, a valve will close and you will pant against resistance. The total time with the door closed is less than five minutes and you may leave the booth at any time.

  • Test #3 – measures the ability of your lungs to absorb gases in the air. This test indicates how well the cells in your lungs are functioning. For this test, you will be instructed to breathe in through a mouthpiece and then blow the air out. You will then be instructed to take a deep breathe in again, hold it for 10 seconds and then blow the air out. This is repeated at least once.

  • Test #4 – this final test measures the oxygen level of your blood by using a small sensor light which clips on your fingernail or earlobe. This light shines through your skin and can determine the approximate oxygen saturation of your blood. This is a completely painless procedure.
Occasionally, you will be given an inhaled medication upon completion of your test(s). Your physician will order this medication as part of the testing procedure. Some of the initial tests will be repeated following the medication.
 A physician's referral is required for this test. Physicians can click here to download the Pulmonary Function Requisition Form.

Asthma Challenge Test
An Asthma Challenge Test takes between 45 and 80 minutes to complete. It is useful when there is a strong suspicion of asthma, but other related tests have shown normal lung function.  The test begins with a Pulmonary Function Test followed by the patient inhaling a medicated mist at timed intervals which can cause mild bronchospasms or "twitchiness" of the airways. For testing to be accurate, optimum co-operation and effort from the patient is required.

Exercise Induced Asthma Test
An Exercise Induced Asthma Test takes approximately 40 minutes to complete and is a safe, effective way to determine if exercise triggers an attack of wheezing, shortness of breath or coughing. The test begins with a Pulmonary Function Test on one day, followed by an exercise test on another day such as running on a treadmill or performing bicycle exercises. A respiratory care practitioner carefully controls the degree of exertion. Lung function is measured after the exercise test is complete.

Booking an Appointment
To book one of the above tests, please call 905-895-4521, ext. 2665. You will be contacted by the Hospital with your appointment date, time, and the location of your test. For questions regarding your test, please call 905-895-4521, ext. 2573.

Southlake Regional Health Centre
596 Davis Drive, Newmarket, Ontario   L3Y 2P9
Tel: 905-895-4521   |   TTY: 905-952-3062
Copyright © 2012 Southlake Regional Health Centre