The respiratory medicine department at Circle Birmingham diagnoses, monitors and treats short- and long-term conditions affecting the airway and lungs. Our department draws on the expertise of leading UK specialists in this field as well as utilising the latest technologies available.
Our state-of-the-art hospital provides the relaxing space needed for medical consultations, diagnostic tests and treatment. Furthermore, our respiratory medicine department at Circle Nottingham is able to deliver the full breadth of medical management needed, including the management of acute and chronic respiratory conditions.
Giving you control
We strive to give our patients a unique understanding of their respiratory condition and management options with follow-up appointments scheduled to monitor relevant disease markers and to make modifications to treatment plans if required.
Respiratory medicine is concerned with the diagnosis and management of medical conditions which affect either the system of tubes that carry air to and from the mouth and nasal cavity to the lungs, or the lungs and surrounding membrane (pleural membrane).
Respiratory conditions are often categorised as restrictive or obstructive respiratory disorders:
Restrictive respiratory disorders are caused by an inability to fully expand the lungs due to an abnormal stiffness to the lung tissue (often termed lung compliance). Common restrictive respiratory conditions include:
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Interstitial lung disease
- Neuromuscular disease
- Occupational lung diseases (lung tissue scarring caused by inhalation of certain particles such as asbestos or silicone)
Obstructive respiratory disorders are a group of disorders caused by airway obstruction and a subsequent inability to breathe out (exhale) fully. This airway obstruction is commonly caused by mechanical collapse of the airway or inflammation of the airway/s. Common obstructive respiratory conditions include:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Chronic bronchitis
Like many areas of medicine, respiratory conditions are diagnosed with a combination of the history of the sufferer’s symptoms and specific medical tests. Alongside standard diagnostic tests such as X-rays, scans and blood tests, respiratory medicine also uses lung function tests to reach a diagnosis.
Treatment of restrictive and obstructive respiratory illnesses will depend on the exact symptoms and severity of the condition. Ongoing lung function tests may be used to monitor any disease progression and to direct treatment as appropriate.
The most common treatments for respiratory conditions include:
- Inhalers to reduce airway narrowing
- Antibiotic medication if fighting an infection in the airways or lungs
- Oral steroids to reduce inflammation
- Oxygen therapy
- Certain surgical procedures are warranted under very rare circumstances.
Our respiratory medicine consultants will establish a clear history of your condition, including the timeline of your symptoms, the exact nature of your symptoms and gain an understanding of your previous medical history and any family medical history which may be relevant.
Particular aspects of the history and symptoms that our consultants may examine in greater detail include:
- General health status
- Occupational exposures to certain materials or smoke
- Previous trauma or infections to the airway or lungs
- Other autoimmune conditions
To complement the in-depth history taken, our consultants will always undertake a comprehensive physical examination which will include the recording of baseline tests such as your heart rate, oxygen saturations and blood pressure.
Depending on the findings during this examination, your consultant will discuss any further diagnostic tests that are required at this stage.
State-of-the-art diagnostics available for you
Diagnostic tests for suspected respiratory disorders can include a combination of specialist imaging as well as lung function tests and specialist blood tests.
Common imaging modalities include chest X-rays and chest CT scans, which are useful in determining the presence and extent of any damage to the lung tissue or to assess areas of infection. Sometimes specialist X-rays which use a movie-like stream of footage to assess the airway and lung tissue may be used for more subtle problems.
Blood tests can be used to assess and monitor any general health symptoms that may be associated with your respiratory symptoms and to exclude any autoimmune problems, which in some circumstances can cause inflammation in the lung tissue. In situations where patients are suffering from significant breathlessness, blood tests can also be used to assess the levels of oxygen and PH levels in the blood, which can help to determine the severity of the underlying condition.
Lung function tests are another useful diagnostic tool used to make an accurate diagnosis and to monitor the severity of the underlying condition. These tests include peak flow and spirometry tests which give feedback on how much force, and how rapidly, an individual is able to exhale. Other tests examine how peak flow and spirometry tests change with the introduction of possible allergens.
Many lung conditions are chronic by their nature and some of these conditions, such as COPD, are progressive in the way they affect the lung tissue.
As such, accurate diagnosis and treatment is essential as part of the optimum management of these conditions.
Circle Health understands the need for this best practice. We can provide one-stop appointments with diagnostics and treatment on the same visit to give our patients the very best outcomes.
The diagnostic tests we run are requested by experts in their field and our respiratory medicine consultants commonly liaise with expert radiologists and cardiologists when necessary, in order to provide the most accurate and comprehensive screening and monitoring process each visit.
We are able to provide a range of lifestyle management options such as smoking cessation, as well as specialist pharmacology treatments in the form of inhalers, nebulisers and oral medication. If required we also able to provide specialist interventions such as bronchoscopies.
Within our respiratory medicine department, we also provide expert help for patients suffering with insomnia. Our specialists are able to provide the specialist psychological help for patients suffering with sleep disorders as well as specialist diagnostics and interventions for patients suffering with obstructive sleep apnea.
Once sleep studies have been conducted our specialist unit is able to provide the correct treatment, including using jaw repositioning devices, weight loss guidance and guidance on using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.
Not only is our respiratory medicine unit and associated radiology and interventional care second to none, your treatment will be conducted in a modern, clean facility which you are able to feel comfortable in throughout your treatment.