What does a pulmonologist or respiratory physician do?

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 Pulmonologists are medical specialists or physicians who manage patients with respiratory problems. Pulmonologists are also known as respiratory physicians, thoracic physicians, or lung specialists.

Pulmonologists are expert in diagnosing and management of the various respiratory diseases which include.

  1. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition of the airways causing airways narrowing and increased sputum production. The common symptoms of asthma are breathlessness, chronic cough, sputum production, wheezing and nighttime cough.
  2. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Pulmonologists diagnose patients who suffer from chronic obstructivepulmonary diseaseor COPD. COPD is caused by smoking leading to chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Chronic bronchitis patients cough up significant amount of sputum on daily basis.Emphysema leads to difficulty in breathing.

  1. Chest infections

Pulmonologistsdiagnose and manage various lung infections, including bronchitis, pneumonia, fungal infections, tuberculosis among other unusual chest infections.

  1. Lung cancer

Pulmonologist helps diagnose patients with suspected lung cancer or tumor. They perform different types of investigationincluding bronchoscopy, or endobronchial ultrasound or pleural procedures to diagnose lung cancer and its stage.

  1. Pulmonary fibrosis

There are various types of fibrosis which affect the lung structurecausing the thickening of the lungs sponge, resulting in difficulty with breathing and chronic cough. There are many types of pulmonary fibrosis. Pulmonologist help diagnosed the different types of pulmonary fibrosis and manage them accordingly.

  1. Pulmonary hypertension

Pulmonary hypertension is increased pressure in the blood vessels of the lungs. It can present with significant breathlessness and sometime swelling of the legs. There are plentiful causes of pulmonary hypertension. Pulmonologists help differentiate the causes and mange it accordingly.

  1. Allergic conditions

Pulmonologists diagnose different type of nose or sinus allergies and manage those conditions.

  1. Pulmonologists also perform procedures like bronchoscopy, endobronchial ultrasound, pleural fluid sampling or pleural biopsy among other procedures.

Frequently asked questions:

  1. Who is a pulmonologist?

Pulmonologist is a chest specialist who manages patients with lung problems.

  1. What types of lung problems a pulmonologist treat?

Asthma, COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonoaryhypertenstion, blood clots in lungs or pulmonary embolism, lung cancer, chest infections

  1. What causes breathlessness?

Breathlessness can be a symptom of lung or heart disease. The common cuases of breathlessness are asthma, COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, narrowing of coronary arteries, heart failure and fluid overload.

  1. Who performs lung function tests?

Pulmonologists perform different types of lung functions test in pulmonary function laboratories. These may include spirometry, DLCO, lung volumes, bronchial provocation testing among others.

  1. What is bronchoscopy?

Bronchoscopy is camera examination of the air tubes of the lungs. Pulmonologists perform this test under mild sedation.


Australian Polyclinic,

CCA Phase 5 DHA, Lahore

0311 057 3333


Dr G Sarwar Chaudhry

MBBS (King Edward Medical College)

Fellow Royal Australasian College of Physicians (FRACP Australia)

Fellow American College of Chest Physicians (FCCP)

Conjoint Lecturer, University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Consultant Pulmonologist and Sleep Physician

Consultant General Physician


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