Respiratory Care

Respiratory Therapy is available to inpatients and outpatients. Diagnostic and therapeutic services are provided by licensed and credentialed respiratory therapists. Respiratory therapists provide temporary relief to patients with chronic asthma or emphysema, as well as emergency care to patients who are victims of a heart attack, stroke, near drowning, or traumatic injury.

Respiratory Care
Upstate University Hospital - Community Campus
4900 Broad Road
Syracuse, NY 13215
Map & direction
Phone: 315 492-5519

Some of the diagnoses or conditions treated include:

  • Asthma
  • Bronchiolitis
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Respiratory distress syndrome
  • Respiratory failure
  • Heart failure

While the department provides respiratory services to patients of all ages, not every procedure is appropriate to every age group.

Inpatient Services

Most respiratory services are provided at bedside, although more advanced pulmonary function testing is performed in the Pulmonary Function Lab.

Services include:

  • Respiratory therapy treatments deliver inhaled medications through nebulizers or inhalers.
  • Other therapies include incentive spirometry and chest physiotherapy. All therapy helps with either lung expansion, secretion removal or both.
  • Diagnostics - pulmonary function testing, arterial blood gases, pulse oximetry with exercise
  • Oxygen therapy and titration - evaluation for home oxygen
  • Management of life support devices: ventilators, BiPAP and CPAP machines

Outpatient Services

Services include:

  • Diagnostics - pulmonary function testing, arterial blood gases, pulse oximetry with exercise, oxygen titration
  • Evaluation for home oxygen
  • Incentive spirometry and "flutter" devices

Outpatients who are having pulmonary function testing should refrain from using their inhalers for at least 4 hours before testing, if they are able to, and longer if possible.

Pulmonary Diagnostics offers a wide variety of services aimed at evaluating your lung function and helping in both understanding and diagnosing your symptoms. With this information, your physician may be able to develop a treatment plan that is both suitable for your particular condition as well as improve your breathing and well-being. In addition, the results of these tests may help in determining the need for further testing and treatment. Your doctor may order one or more pulmonary function tests.

These tests measure:

  • Inspiratory (breathing in) and expiratory (breathing out) air flow velocities (spirometry)
  • Your total lung capacity (lung volumes)
  • How well your lungs transport oxygen into your blood (diffusion capacity)

A complete pulmonary function study takes approximately 45 to 90 minutes to complete. You will be asked to breathe into a tube called a "spirometer" that records the amount of air and air rate breathed over a specified period of time. You may be tested before and after taking certain medications, as well as be asked to repeat the tests from time to time as part of your treatment plan.

Your doctor may also order other tests to help diagnose your lung disorders.
These may include:

  • Pulse oximetry, which measures the level of oxygen in your blood at rest or at exercise.
  • Arterial blood gas, which measures the actual amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your circulation
  • Methacholine challenge test, to determine whether you may have asthma

We also provide patient education on both the proper use of metered dose inhalers with or without a spacing device as well as home peak flow monitoring, both essential tools in asthma therapy and management. This service is offered to inpatients and outpatients.

Respiratory Care Links