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Waitemata DHB Respiratory Medicine

Public Service

Description

What is Respiratory Medicine?
Respiratory medicine is the branch of medicine that treats people with diseases affecting the lungs and breathing.
The role of our lungs is to deliver oxygen into our bloodstream and remove carbon dioxide.  When you breathe in, air passes through the throat into the windpipe (trachea). The base of the windpipe divides into the right and left tubes (bronchi) which divide again and again each time getting smaller and smaller until the smallest airways called the alveoli are reached. The alveoli act like balloons i.e. when you breathe in they inflate and when you breathe out they relax.
Oxygen moves across the walls of the alveoli and enters the bloodstream and is carried to the rest of the body after passing through the heart. Carbon dioxide is passed from the blood into the alveoli and is breathed out of the lungs.
 
Common symptoms or signs of lung disease include: shortness of breath, wheezing, long-term cough, coughing up blood, and having chest pains.
 
The Respiratory Department
Respiratory services provided by the department consist of outpatient clinics, a day stay unit and inpatient (ward) care.
The department is staffed by respiratory physicians (doctors who specialise in treating conditions of the lungs), specially trained nurses, technicians, physiotherapists, and registrars (doctors training to be specialists).

Consultants

Referral Expectations

Outpatient Clinics and Procedures

 

Your GP will refer you to one of our clinics if they are concerned about your lungs or breathing and want a specialist opinion.  The referral is prioritised depending on urgency. 

You may be sent a questionnaire before your clinic visit to help us make a diagnosis and decide if any tests need to be done before you see a specialist.
 
Recommendations and options regarding your diagnosis and treatment plan will be discussed with you and a letter will be sent to your GP.
You need to bring to your appointment:
1. any letters or reports from your doctor or another hospital
2. any X-rays, CT (computer tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) films and reports
3. all medicines you are currently taking, including herbal and natural remedies
4. your pharmaceutical entitlement card.

If you have any change in your condition before you come to your appointment, please see your GP immediately.

We hold seven outpatient clinics a week at North Shore Hospital and three outpatient clinics a week at Waitakere Hospital.

Common Conditions/ Procedures/ Treatments

  • Asthma

    Asthma symptoms include coughing, wheezing, a tight feeling in the chest and trouble breathing.… More

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

    This term is used to describe lung disease where the breathing tubes become blocked and the surrounding tissue and air sacs inside the lungs become damaged.… More

  • Lung Cancer

    This is when abnormal malignant cells divide and grow in an uncontrolled fashion in the lung tissue.… More PDF

  • Lung Function Tests

    You may be advised to take lung function tests to find out how much air moves in and out as you breathe.… More

  • Spirometers

    Spirometry is a test which measures the speed at which your lungs can be filled and emptied of air.  It can be used to diagnose problems of breathing and monitor the usefulness of treatment.… More

  • Peak Flow Meter

    This is a small hand-held tube that can measure what is happening in your breathing tubes.  You can have one at home and measure your peak flow by blowing into it as hard and fast as possible.  You will be shown how to measure it and compare it with what… More

  • Blood Gas Tests

    This is similar to a blood test but instead of a needle going into a vein it is inserted briefly into a small artery in your wrist.  A small amount of blood is taken and sent to the laboratory for information about the oxygenation of your blood and other gases.… More

  • Chest X-ray

    A chest X-ray is normally undertaken to check the chest wall, lungs and heart.… More

  • Computer Tomography (CT) Scan

    With CT you can see much more detail than with a normal X-ray.… More

  • Fine Needle Aspirate

    Depending on what is seen on the CT scan an additional test can be done where a fine needle is inserted into your chest into the cancer and some cells sucked up into the needle.  This is done while taking pictures with the CT scanner to guide the doctor as… More

  • Bronchoscopy and Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS)

    During this test a thin fibreoptic tube is inserted into your breathing tubes, through the nose or the mouth, to view the tubes and take a biopsy (remove cells or tissue) to see if there are cancer cells present.… More PDF

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnoea And Sleep Disorders

    More PDF

Contact Details

North Shore Hospital

North Auckland

Freephone 0800 80 93 42 - Waitemata DHB residential areas only
Patient enquiries:
(09) 486 8930

Emergency Department: Open 24 hours / 7 days, Phone (09) 486 8900

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Shakespeare Road
Takapuna
Auckland 0620

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Street Address

Shakespeare Road
Takapuna
Auckland 0620

Postal Address

North Shore Hospital
Private Bag 93 503
Takapuna
North Shore City 0740

This page was last updated at 1:03PM on January 16, 2019. This information is reviewed and edited by Waitemata DHB Respiratory Medicine.