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Diagnostics and Respiratory Therapy Services


Diagnostics and Respiratory Therapy Services
Accurate diagnosis is the first step toward improving your lung health. At South Miami Hospital, comprehensive diagnostic testing and respiratory therapy are integral to our program. Working with direction from our medical director and with a physician’s order, our respiratory therapists diagnose and treat many cardiopulmonary conditions. They partner with patients to develop and manage a care plan, supporting and educating you along the way. Our licensed respiratory therapists are qualified to work with hospitalized patients, emergency room patients and outpatients of all ages – from neonatal to adult.

South Miami Hospital Diagnostic Tests
Working with pulmonary technologists, our respiratory therapists provide the following tests: Oxygen Saturation Tests – Normally, when red blood cells move through the lungs, 95-100% are saturated with oxygen. With a cardiopulmonary condition, fewer red blood cells carry normal levels of oxygen. We measure blood oxygen level in two ways:

  • Spot Check – Oxygen saturation is tested painlessly with a clip that fits on your finger. A light on the clip shines through one side of your finger. A detector measures light coming through the other side. Oxygen-rich blood cells are bright red. Oxygen-poor blood cells are bluish. Light passed through your finger reflects red and blue blood cells differently. This helps the respiratory therapist determine your oxygen saturation.
  • Arterial Blood Gases (ABG) – More accurate than a spot check, an ABG directly measures oxygen saturation and lung function. Unlike tests that draw blood from a vein, this test takes a small sample from an artery. The test is completed in minutes and results are sent immediately to your physician.

  • South Miami Hospital Pulmonary Function Tests
    South Miami Hospital provides painless pulmonary function tests in a certified dedicated, hospital-based lab. Most tests are done on an outpatient basis. As you breathe in and out through a tube connected to machines, we evaluate your lung health. These tests help diagnose lung diseases early, when treatment is most effective.

    Complete Pulmonary Function Test (CPFT) – This test includes the following evaluations for a complete picture of your lung health:

  • Flow Volume Loop (FVL)Flow Volume Loop (FVL) – The FVL diagnoses obstructive lung disorders such as asthma and emphysema, or restrictive disorders such as pulmonary fibrosis. This test measures how forcefully you inhale and exhale. It lasts about 20 minutes.
  • Slow Vital Capacity (SVC) – The SVC measures the total amount of air you can exhale slowly after a deep breath.
  • Single Breath Diffusion Capacity (DLCO) – This test determines how efficiently your lungs deliver oxygen and other gases to your bloodstream. Patients inhale a small, harmless quantity of carbon monoxide. The amount exhaled is then measured. The ability to absorb carbon monoxide into the blood reflects your ability to absorb other gases, including oxygen.
  • Thoracic Gas Volume (TGV) and Airway Resistance (RAW) – These tests calculate the amount of air you breathe. Sitting inside an airtight cubicle resembling a phone booth, you breathe in and out through a mouthpiece. As your chest expands and contracts, air pressure inside the cubicle changes. By measuring pressure changes, we calculate the amount of air you need to breathe.

  • High Altitude Simulation Test (HAST) – If you have a chronic lung disease and plan to travel by airplane or to higher altitudes, you may need this test, even if you’re on supplemental oxygen. HAST is the simplest, safest method for determining the need for supplemental oxygen under these conditions. By administering a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen to the patient, the test simulates available oxygen at high altitudes. The patient’s vital signs and oxygen saturation are closely monitored.

    Pulmonary Exercise Stress Testing – One of the few South Florida pulmonary exercise test facilities is at South Miami Hospital. Stress testing evaluates people who have difficulty breathing during exercise. This series of tests monitors and records heart rate, EKGs, oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide production, blood pressure and oxygen saturation during exercise. An exercise pulmonologist is present during testing.

    Bronchial Provocation Testing (Bronchial Challenge) – If your physician suspects that you have asthma, a bronchial challenge may be ordered. This test evaluates the sensitivity of your airways. As part of the bronchial challenge, a spirometry test measures how much and how fast air moves in and out of your lungs. The test is done before and after inhaling a mist. Results are compared before and after you inhale the spray to evaluate breathing changes.

    Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) – Our lung specialists use EBUS to diagnose lung cancer, infections and other conditions causing enlarged lymph nodes in the chest. A newer testing method, EBUS is minimally invasive and very effective.

    For more information on South Miami Hospital pulmonary diagnostic services, please call Lung Health at 786-662-8146.