Cardiopulmonary Department Services

Respiratory Care
Respiratory Care at Delta County Memorial Hospital provides service to inpatients and outpatients who require treatment or diagnosis for conditions affecting the cardiopulmonary system.

Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) professionals provide care 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A respiratory therapist is specially trained and highly skilled professional working under a doctor's direction assessing a person's overall cardiopulmonary condition to provide care that helps manage a wide range of breathing problems caused by disease, accident or illness while working in a variety of health care settings with the infant to adult population in the emergency room, nursery, Intensive Care Unit, the general inpatient care area and outpatient services.

This care includes ventilation support, arterial blood gas analysis, assistance in labor and delivery, assessment of the pulmonary system, the therapeutic and diagnostic use of medical gases, treatment therapies, medications to the cardiopulmonary system, assistance with CPR and the maintenance of artificial airways while operating highly technical medical equipment. They evaluate, treat, educate, and monitor patients with all kinds of breathing disorders. 

Cardiac and Pulmonary Diagnostic Testing

Diagnostic testing specifically includes Pulmonary Function Testing, Holter Monitoring, Cardiac Event Monitoring, Cardiac Stress Testing, Echocardiograms (heart ultrasound) and EEG Testing.

Pulmonary Function Testing(PFTs) are non-invasive specialty tests to evaluate the function of the lungs. The tests measure lung volume, capacity, rates of flow, and gas exchange. This information can help a healthcare provider diagnose and decide the treatment of certain lung disorders.

There are 2 types of lung disorders that cause problems with air moving in and out of the lungs:

Obstructive. This is when air has trouble flowing out of the lungs due to resistance. This causes a decreased flow of air.

Restrictive. This is when the chest muscles can't expand enough. This creates problems with air flow.

PFT can be done with 2 methods:

Spirometry. A spirometer is a device with a mouthpiece hooked up to a small electronic machine.

Plethysmography. You sit or stand inside an air-tight box that looks like a short, square telephone booth to do the tests.

Echocardiogram
An echocardiogram uses sound waves to produce images of your heart. This commonly used test allows your doctor to see your heart beating and pumping blood. Your doctor can use the images from an echocardiogram to identify heart disease.

Cardiac Nuclear Stress Testing
Cardiac nuclear medicine stress tests are indicated for individuals with unexplained chest pain or chest pain brought on by exercise (called angina) to permit the early detection of heart disease. The most common cardiac nuclear medicine procedure, called myocardial perfusion imaging, enables the visualization of blood-flow patterns to the heart walls. The test is important for evaluating the presence of suspected or known coronary artery disease (blockages), as well as the results of previous injury to the heart from a heart attack (myocardial infarction).

An EEG (electroencephalogram) records the electrical activity of the brain. An EEG test is totally painless and usually takes about 1 ½ hours. An EEG is a diagnostic tool used to evaluate:

Seizure disorders/epilepsy

Metabolic disorders, such as liver disorders or kidney dysfunction

Stroke, problems of the central nervous system

Degenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease

Head trauma, Headaches

Brain tumors

Sleep Disorders Lab
The Sleep Disorders Lab is designed to provide a quiet context for evaluating symptoms of sleep disorders such as insomnia, excessive snoring, fatigue and inappropriate "dozing off" during normal activities like driving or working. Sleep studies are used to diagnose and evaluate effectiveness of therapy for obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome and other disorders.

Symptoms:

People may have sleep apnea and not be aware of it.  People with sleep apnea may stop breathing numerous times during the night and not fully awaken to realize it.  In many cases, a household member is the first to notice that a person snores loudly, stops breathing for periods of time, and gasps or snorts during sleep.  Daytime drowsiness, headache upon awakening, weight gain, depression, irritability, leg swelling, sexual dysfunction, and difficulty thinking or remembering may be signs of sleep apnea. 

Sleep apnea can contribute to high blood pressure, and researchers suspect that up to half of all people with sleep apnea have high blood pressure.  Sleep apnea can contribute to serious and life threatening medical complications, including stroke, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, and sudden death.

Patients are referred by their primary physician for testing. A full sleep-oriented history and a physical examination will be completed in preparation for appropriate testing or treatment which may include an overnight or daytime stay in a private room at the Sleep Disorders Lab.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please call: (970) 874-2251.

Sleep is as central as diet and exercise to our overall health. Sleep helps adults repair muscle tissue and helps the brain organize-and discard-the massive amounts of information that is received throughout the day. If you're tired of being tired, you can begin by working with your primary care doctor to find out just how serious your sleep problem is. If necessary, your primary doctor will refer you to a sleep lab.

Sleep apnea may be treated or managed with lifestyle changes, use of a breathing assist device at night, or surgery.

An estimated 30 million people nationwide suffer from sleep disorders. Sleep disorders range in severity and treatment options. Below are some of the most common sleep disorders that we treat:

Insomnia
Insomnia is a persistent inability to fall asleep or stay asleep.

Snoring
Snoring is a partial obstruction of the upper airway shown to increase the risk of heart attacks and/or strokes. Loud, heavy snoring also can be a symptom of a more serious disorder known as sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a life threatening disorder that causes a peron to stop breathing periodically while sleeping.

Narcolepsy
Narcolepsy is a neurological illness characterized by sudden, uncontrollable sleep attacks and persistent daytime sleepiness.

Restless Leg Sydrome (Nocturnal Myoclonus)
Nocturnal Myoclonus is a disorder characterized by excessive movement of the legs during sleep, which causes arousal, also known as Restless Leg Syndrome.

Gastroesophageal Reflux
Gastroesophageal reflux is a disorder in which acid from the stomach "backs up" into the esophagus during the night, causing small awakenings.

Parasomnias
Parasomnias are abnormal and recurrent nighttime behavior such as sleepwalking, sleep talking, night terrors, head banging etc.

Should you consult a physician about a possible sleep disorder?
Sleep apnea is a common and under-diagnosed sleep disorder.  It causes repeated episodes of stopped breathing (apneic episodes) and startling or gasping for air during sleep.  People with sleep apnea frequently do not realize that they have it.  The consequences of untreated sleep apnea can be severe or life threatening therefore early diagnosis and treatment is essential.