Bronchoscopy is a procedure which allows for viewing the interior of the airways. Using sophisticated flexible fiber optic instruments; doctors are able to explore the trachea, main stem bronchi, and some of the small bronchi. In children, this procedure may be used to remove foreign objects that have been inhaled. In adults, the procedure is most often used to take samples (biopsy) of areas that appear abnormal. These samples are often sent for culture if infection is suspected or for review by a pathologist if cancer or other diseases are suspected. This test is performed as an outpatient meaning you will go home the same day the test is performed. A list of instructions will be given to you by your physician. Fasting is required for 6 to 12 hours before the test. You must sign an informed consent form. Please arrange for transportation to and from the hospital. Many people want to rest for the remainder of the day, so make arrangements for work, childcare, or other obligations.
Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) is similar to a bronchoscopy with a special addition of ultrasound capabilities. This technology allows us to view enlarged lymph nodes and masses surrounding the airways. This very safe procedure allows us to biopsy abnormalities that in the past had to be done with more invasive surgery. The doctors at Bay Area Chest Physicians are among the few in the area that are capable of doing this procedure.
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Pulmonary Function Testing
Pulmonary function tests evaluate how well your lungs work. We will test how much air your lungs hold, how quickly you can move air in and out of your lungs, and how well your lungs exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide with your blood. These tests can help your doctor diagnose various lung conditions such as COPD, Asthma, and Pulmonary Fibrosis, as well as check to see how well a treatment for a lung disease is working. The test will take approximately 25 minutes to perform.
Cardiopulmonary Exercise Stress Testing
Cardiopulmonary exercise stress test is an exercise test that will be performed on a stationary bike which takes approximately 45 minutes to perform. This test will look at your heart and lungs and see how they respond to exercise and will provide your Doctor with important information on what affects your ability to exercise.
Ultrasound Guided Thoracentesis
With the help of our office based ultrasound machine we can easily visualize fluid accumulation surrounding the lungs (called a pleural effusion). If the doctor feels it is necessary, a thoracentesis is performed. This test is performed to determine the cause of pleural effusion or to relieve the symptoms associated with the fluid accumulation. You may be positioned sitting on the edge of a chair or bed with your head and arms resting on a table. The ultrasound machine identifies the fluid and appropriate site where the needle should be inserted safely. The skin around the insertion site is disinfected and a local anesthetic is injected into the skin. The thoracentesis needle is inserted above the rib into the pocket of fluid. The analysis of the fluid will indicate possible causes of pleural effusion such as infection, neoplasm, heart failure, and cirrhosis.