Respiratory And Pulmonary Care | UnityPoint Health - Trinity

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Respiratory and Pulmonary Care

Pulmonary medicine addresses a broad spectrum of conditions that affect the way we breathe. Our lung specialists, including pulmonologists and thoracic surgeons, provide comprehensive care to patients suffering from a broad spectrum of illnesses (including pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, lung cancer and neuromuscular disorders) and provide support for patients recovering from surgeries, trauma, cardiac/respiratory arrest and metabolic disorders.

At Trinity, our Pulmonary Function Lab offers a complete line of lung function testing. The Pulmonary Function Laboratory provides diagnostic screening services that assist our medical staff in the diagnosis of the lungs conditions such as:

  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Emphysema
  • Asthma
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Oxygen consumption exercise studies

Trinity's respiratory care is a full-service department offering both inpatient and outpatient services at all four of our facilities. The department is staffed with respiratory therapists proficient in neonatal through adult respiratory care. Our pulmonologists and respiratory care team treat a wide range of respiratory conditions, including asthma, cystic fibrosis, emphysema, sleep apnea and lung cancer.

The respiratory care department treats patients with pulmonary disorders but not limited to asthma, bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, sleep apnea, lung cancer and emphysema.

Outpatient services include:

  • Nebulizer treatments
  • Pre-surgical screening and education
  • Tracheostomy changes
  • Pulse oximetry

Other outpatient services available through Trinity's pulmonary and respiratory departments include:

  • Sleep Center
  • Asthma Clinic


During bronchoscopy, you receive a medicine to numb your throat and a lighted tube is inserted in your mouth. The tube is moved down your throat and into your lung. Your doctor may take a closer look at your lung tissue by looking through the tube or by watching a video screen.

Endobronchial Ultrasound System (EBUS)

When lung cancer is a possibility, EBUS makes it possible for Trinity doctors to see inside lungs with real-time video imaging. Even the hardest to reach places. EBUS can mean an earlier diagnosis of lung cancer and can help determine how far a tumor has advanced and take biopsies. When necessary it even takes pictures that can be used to develop your plan of care.

Pulmonary Function Tests

Pulmonary function tests are a series of painless tests to help determine the condition of the lungs. These tests are designed to evaluate the degree of lung damage and diagnose the type of lung disorder. The testing is performed by breathing through a mouthpiece so that the amount and speed of the air exhaled is measured. Most of the tests take between 30 minutes and one hour.

Methacholine Challenge Testing

Methacholine challenge testing is used to diagnose reactive airway disease. During the testing you will breathe in a medication called methacholine and perform repeat testing to see how the medication affects you.


  • You should not have any respiratory illnesses for four weeks before testing to ensure accurate test results.
  • Do not have caffeine for 24 hours before the test. The caffeine can interfere with the actions of the methacholine. Coffee, cola, chocolate, tea, cocoa or over the counter medications containing caffeine should be avoided.
  • Bronchodilator medications such as inhalers should not be used 14 hours before testing. Your doctor has a list of all these medications.
  • Antihistamine medication should not be taken 36-48 hours before testing.
  • If you are on a steroid medication you should be on a stable dose before testing.
  • Taking these medications before testing may interfere with the accuracy of the test results.

Arriving For Your Procedure

Your physician's office will schedule your procedure. When you come for your appointment, register at the outpatient registration desk located at the main entrance of the hospital. Please wear comfortable, loose fitting clothes. You may eat a light meal before the procedure. Please bring a copy of your medications with you. The methacholine challenge testing does require special preparation by the patient.

After the test the results are interpreted by a pulmonologist and sent to your doctor who will discuss your test results with you.