All of our specialists are Melbourne trained and members of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians as well as the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand, so a thorough background in chest and respiratory disease is assured.
A comprehensive initial assessment is undertaken, whereby we usually review any x-rays and CT scans or other imaging, as well as lung function test results. Please bring all of your x-rays, letters, tests and other pertinent results, so we don’t repeat tests unnecessarily.
If there have been no recent lung function tests or chest x-rays, we may organise these prior to the initial assessment so that the most current information is available. A basic chest x-ray enables us to determine if there are any obvious abnormalities which require further investigations, and a lung function test (breathing test) gives us an up-to-date measure of the health of your airways (your lung capacity, control of asthma and effectiveness of oxygen absorption).
Further tests such as CT scans or PET scans may be required and these are usually organised on the first visit. Arterial blood gases are sometimes requested, which sample oxygen and carbon dioxide directly from a small artery. Blood tests often requested at this time are your allergic profile and markers for other inflammatory or respiratory related conditions.
We will occasionally recommend a Bronchoscopy test, which is performed as a day procedure under a light anaesthetic, where we look inside the lungs and take samples if necessary, such as biopsies, washings and brushings. This is similar to a gastroscopy and performed in a major hospital such as Cabrini.
We frequently refer to a specialised chest physiotherapist, who may give you a course of hands-on treatment, inhalational treatment or self-management type breathing exercises.
We work with a number of affiliated specialists to help us look after respiratory illness, such as in the case of lung fibrosis, gastro-oesophageal reflux, unusual chest infections, tumours or cancers. We have a lung cancer multidisciplinary team to coordinate lung cancer treatment. Significant breathlessness and COPD/smokers lung sometimes requires exercise rehabilitation specialists to improve muscle strength and performance. Occasionally we ask a cardiothoracic surgeon to undertake a biopsy or removal of part of the lung, and occasionally we will ask an interventional radiologist to help with a biopsy under x-ray guidance, or remove fluid around the lung with a drainage tube.
If you remain largely well, we aim to enable management through your general practitioner so as to avoid unnecessary visits in the future, such as visits when you are actually well. Our group focuses on providing care when it is needed, i.e. when you are unwell, and providing in-hospital care in an expeditious way.