All about chest diseases

Chest diseases; It is the department that deals with diseases related to the lungs, lung membranes, chest wall, trachea, respiratory system and diaphragm. Pulmonary diseases constitute the majority of the patient group of interest. There are many diseases that prevent the person from doing daily activities, impair the quality of life, cause discomfort, and occur in the respiratory system and lung.

Diseases that cause many complaints such as cough, chest, back and shoulder pain, wheezing, sputum, snoring, blood accompanied by coughing, weakness, sweating seen only at night, fever, loss of appetite and weight loss, are followed by the chest diseases department and is treated.

What are the common chest diseases and their treatments?

The most common chest diseases are:

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Asthma
  • Lung infections (Pneumonia/pneumonia, bronchitis, tracheitis)
  • Allergic Lung Diseases
  • Bronchiectasis (widening of the airways)
  • Sleep Apnea Syndrome (narrowing/stopping breathing during sleep)
  • Lung cancer
  • Pulmonary Embolism (Lung clot disease)
  • Hardening of the lung (Fibrosis)
  • Pneumothorax (deflating in the lung)
  • Lung Diseases
  • respiratory failures
  • Chronic Cough
  • Tuberculosis (TB)
  • sarcoidosis
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Pulmonary involvement of systemic diseases (rheumatic diseases, cancers, etc.)

Each disease has its own diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. These examination-treatment steps are carried out by Chest Diseases specialists who graduated from the Department of Chest Diseases after 6 years of medical school education and 4 years of specialization training.

What diseases does chest diseases treat?

The Department of Chest Diseases deals with the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory and pulmonary diseases. Patients are treated by the specialist physicians of the department with outpatient follow-up or inpatient when necessary.

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What are respiratory function tests?

Inhalation function tests (spirometry), which are applied first to patients with respiratory complaints after the history and examination, are used to detect dysfunctions and the degree of these disorders. Many different respiratory function test systems are applied in the differential diagnosis and follow-up of the course of the disease. Strong vital capacity and diffusion test are among the most commonly used spirometric formulas. The severe vital capacity test is a volume measured by a strong, rapid exhalation after a deep breath. In healthy people, 80% of the air taken by deep breathing in the lungs is expected to be evacuated in 6 seconds. In some diseases, a decrease in this volume or a prolongation of the exhalation time can be detected. They make inferences about the diseases by interpreting the test by chest diseases physicians.

What are the symptoms of chest diseases?

The most common symptoms are;

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sputum
  • chest pain, flank pain
  • Chest pain that develops with deep breathing (pleuritic pain)
  • shortness of breath with exertion
  • clubbing of fingers
  • Snoring, shortness of breath during sleep
  • night sweats
  • Bloody sputum is coughing up blood (hemoptysis).

What are the diagnostic formulas?

  • First of all, detailed history and physical examination of the patients who apply to the Chest Diseases unit are performed. Stories of smoking and air pollution are questioned. Basic diagnostic tests can be listed as routine blood tests, basic respiratory function tests and chest X-ray.
  • Further investigations can be made based on the history and basic tests of the patients. For example, when allergic diseases are suspected, allergy skin tests, blood eosinophil count, total and specific IgE measurements in blood, bronchial provocation tests can be performed.
  • Sputum examination is frequently used in the diagnosis of infectious diseases. Basic respiratory function tests, diffusion capacity measurement, 6-minute walk test, shuttle test, total lung capacity assessment (platysmography) are functional tests that can be performed.
  • If necessary, lung endoscopy (bronchoscopy) process can be applied by Chest Diseases specialists. In addition, EBUS (endobronchial ultrasonography) performed using ultrasonography guidance during the bronchoscopy process can be applied by specialized chest diseases specialists in selected centers.
  • Thoracic computed tomography is a frequently used imaging system for detailed radiological examination of the lungs. Although tomography is a more commonly used procedure than magnetic resonance imaging to show the lungs, MRI is rarely used.
  • PET-CT is also an imaging method used in patients with suspected cancer. Sleep test (polysomnography) can be performed for patients who are thought to have respiratory disorders during sleep. In cases of fluid collection in the lung, diagnostic and therapeutic thoracentesis (fluid removal) process can be performed.
  • In addition, there are diagnostic tests carried out in coordination for many diseases that are jointly priced with other areas of expertise. For example, cardiology in cases such as pulmonary embolism, pulmonary hypertension, which causes respiratory gloom, and Rheumatology departments in diseases such as pulmonary involvement of rheumatic diseases and sarcoidosis.
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exp. Dr. Aysu Sinem Koc