Source: Suneel Dhand, MD, Attending Physician, Internal Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Disorders of the respiratory system with a chief complaint of shortness of breath are among the most common reasons for both outpatient and inpatient evaluation. The most obvious visible clue to a respiratory problem will be whether the patient is displaying any signs of respiratory distress, such as fast respiratory rate and/or cyanosis. In a clinical situation, this will always require emergent attention and oxygen therapy.
Unlike pathology in other body systems, many pulmonary disorders, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and pneumonia, can be diagnosed by careful clinical examination alone. This starts with a comprehensive inspection and palpation. Keep in mind that in non-emergency situations the patient's complete history will have been taken already, gaining important insight into exposure histories (e.g., smoking), which could give rise to specific lung diseases. This history can then confirm physical findings as the examination is performed.…
Physical Examinations I
Source: Madeline Lassche, MSNEd, RN and Katie Baraki, MSN, RN, College of Nursing, University of Utah, UT
Inhaled medications are prescribed for conditions affecting the bronchi, which branch off of the trachea, and bronchioles, which are progressively smaller conducting airways spread throughout the lung tissue. These conditions can be classified as acute (i.e., temporary, with quick onset) or chronic (i.e., persistent and/or recurrent symptoms lasting months to years). Common acute conditions requiring inhaled medications include acute bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, pulmonary edema, and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Chronic conditions requiring inhaled medications encompass those classified as COPD (i.e., asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema), as well as other chronic conditions, including cystic fibrosis, lung cancer, and pneumoconiosis.
These conditions often require medications to open airways, decrease airway inflammation, and promote airflow. The delivery of medications directly into the airways allows for a faster response when compared to systemically administered medications and decreases the impact of systemic side effects. Inhaled medications come in different forms and delivery devices. Common inhaled medications include short- and …
1Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma, and Lung Biology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2Department of Pediatrics, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 3Pulmonary Diseases and Critical Care, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 4Curriculum in Toxicology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill