How RTs Treat Pneumonia
Nov. 13, 2017
We at Concorde know that the role of Respiratory Therapist is one of the most vital on any medical team. There canât be life without breath, and the Respiratory Therapist aids that process. This especially is true when it comes to pneumonia, an affliction that kills more than 50,000 people each year. Itâs an infection of the lung that causes them to fill with fluid, making it difficult to breathe. Antibiotics typically treat the bacterial strains of pneumonia effectively. Viral pneumonia is tackled with treatments often administered by respiratory therapists. We thought weâd take a closer look at how the Respiratory Therapist treats pneumonia. We got two different takes from a couple of our resident Concorde RT experts. âThere are two major types of pneumonia,â said Amir Mirisoleiman, BS, RRT, Respiratory Therapy Program Director at Concordeâs campus in San Antonio. âOne is a bacterial pneumonia, and the other is a viral pneumonia. If you are diagnosed with a bacterial form of pneumonia, it is important that you are started on antibiotics very soon. If you have viral pneumonia, you will not receive antibiotics.â
How pneumonia is diagnosedMirisoleiman said a physician will start by asking for a medical history and doing a physical exam, such as listening to the lungs with a stethoscope to check for abnormal bubbling or crackling sounds that suggest pneumonia. If the doctor suspects pneumonia, he/she will order further examinations such as:
- Blood tests. Blood tests are used to confirm an infection and try to identify the type of organism causing the problem.
- Chest X-ray. This helps your doctor determine the location of the infection.
- Sputum test. A sample of fluid from your lungs (sputum) is taken after a deep cough and analyzed to help pinpoint the cause of the infection to determine the kind of antibiotics needed for treatment, if any.