Pulmonary & Critical Care

Meet Our Specialists

About Pulmonary & Critical Care

Clear Lake Pulmonary is committed to delivering excellent patient care by implementing up-to-date medical knowledge and best practices. We believe in the continuing growth as individuals and as a group and delivering comprehensive quality care to our patients. There are many new advances in treatment and prevention of lung disease, such as screening for lung cancer and recognizing COPD and pulmonary fibrosis in the early stages. We provide a well-rounded approach using evidence-based medicine and excellent follow-up care. With strong ties to the local hospitals, we are also able to manage our patients with exceptional continuity of care both in and out of the hospital. This personalized approach provides our patients with comfort and quality care throughout the treatment and recovery process.

Pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine physicians evaluate a broad spectrum of chest and sleep disorders. Most common lungs problems include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis, abnormal chest X-rays, lung mass/nodules, lung cancer. Common problems that are evaluated include shortness of breath, coughing, chest pain, snoring, increased sleepiness, and chronic fatigue. Sleep disorders that are often evaluated include obstructive sleep apnea [OSA], insomnia, hypersomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, non-restorative sleep, and restless leg syndrome.

Our physicians also are on staff at the local hospitals which allow for continuity of care for our patients who are admitted to the inpatient floor and ICU (intensive care unit).

Our evaluation and management includes (but not limited to):
  • Asthma
  • COPD (emphysema)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Lung cancer
  • Lung diseases caused by working conditions
  • Lung infections (e.g. fungal infections)
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Sleep disorders
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Shortness of Breath and difficulty with breathing
  • Cough
  • Abnormal Chest Xray/Lung imaging
  • Screening for lung cancer

Procedures that are conducted by our pulmonologist include sleep studies, pulmonary stress testing, bronchoscopy and pulmonary function testing.

Pulmonary Function Testing: This includes spirometry, lung volume by body plethysmograph, diffusion capacity and flow-volume curves.

Six-minute walk test: Useful also for the diagnosis of shortness of breath and assessment of oxygen need.

Fully attended one or two-night polysomnography (PSG) or sleep study: This is the test for obstructive sleep apnea. We have a fully functioning sleep lab with sleep study appointments readily available. Multiple sleep latency test (MSLT). Diagnostic tool for narcolepsy.

Bronchoscopy

A bronchoscope is a thin, flexible, lighted tube with a camera at one end. It is inserted through the nose (or mouth in some cases) so that pulmonologists can visually inspect the larynx (voice box), trachea (windpipe), and airways. Patients are usually sedated, but not “put to sleep” for a bronchoscopy procedure, which can be used to both diagnose and treat lung conditions.

As a diagnostic instrument, the bronchoscope allows pulmonologists to both visualize pathology (changes in the airway due to disease) and take samples that can be looked at under a microscope. Samples may be taken to confirm a diagnosis, such as cancer, or to help narrow down possible diagnoses. As a therapeutic instrument, the bronchoscope allows pulmonologists to deliver medications directly to the lungs, remove secretions that are causing blockages, cauterize bleeding blood vessels, and remove obvious anomalies.

Though bronchoscopy has been in use for decades, it has been continually refined and updated to improve its capabilities. At one point, bronchoscopy could only be used to investigate the large airways, leaving 90% of the lungs out of reach. The latest bronchoscopes employ radial probe endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS), navigation bronchoscopy, and virtual bronchoscopy to make it possible for pulmonologists to investigate 100% of lung tissue as well as some of the associated tissues that lie just beyond the lungs.

Pulmonary Function Testing

Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are used to help diagnose lung conditions like asthma, muscular dystrophy, and diseases caused by exposure to toxins. Pulmonary function tests are minimally invasive and require only that patients be able to cooperate and follow directions. The results of a PFT, which are interpreted by a pulmonologist, can provide information that can be used to both diagnose lung conditions and help manage them. PFTs can be performed on almost anyone.

Pulmonary & Critical Care FAQ

  • Age
    • Lung infections are most common in the elderly and very young
  • Smoking
    • Lung diseases such as bronchitis, lung cancer and emphysema are increased in people who smoke. Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer.
  • Exposure to certain chemicals
    • Exposure to chemicals such as asbestos and other gases increases you risk of developing lung disease such as asthma and lung cancer.
  • Air pollution
    • Exposure to pollutants such as diesel exhaust fumes, nitrogen oxides, dust, gases and pollens are at a higher risk of developing lung disease. Exposure to these pollutants are especially common in professions such as baking, wood work and chemical production.
  • Family history
    • If you have a family history of lung cancer or asthma, your risk of developing the condition is increased.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a long-term disease that prevents a person from breathing properly due to excess mucus or the degeneration of the lungs.

Pneumonia may be caused by viral infections bacterial infections or fungi.

One of the most effective ways to promote good lung health is to avoid smoking cigarettes. According to the CDC, those who smoke are 15 to 30 times more likely to get lung cancer.

  • A cough that does not go away or gets worse
  • Chest pain when deep breathing, coughing or laughing
  • Hoarseness
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Coughing up blood
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis that don’t go away
  • Wheezing

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