Pulmonary Services

At North Point Pulmonary Associates we are committed to providing quality individualized care for treating the lungs and respiratory (or breathing) system. We offer tests and diagnostics for patients with various pulmonary conditions in a caring and compassionate environment.


A bronchoscopy is a procedure where your doctor examines the airways to your lungs with a thin, flexible, lighted tube called a bronchoscope.

This procedure may be done if you have:

  • An irritation, growth, or scar tissue in part of the lungs or the airways to the lungs.
  • An inherited deformity in the lungs.
  • A foreign body lodged in the lungs, such as a peanut or coin.
  • Signs of cancer are in need of a biopsy.
  • A persistent cough or are coughing up blood.
  • An infection needing to be cultured

What happens during the procedure?

You are given a local or general anesthetic. A local anesthetic may be sprayed into your nose and mouth to prevent gagging when the tube is passed through your mouth. If you have a local anesthetic, you may also be given a sedative to relax you. A general anesthetic relaxes your muscles, puts you to sleep and prevents you from feeling pain.

Your physician will pass a tube into your mouth and throat, down the windpipe and into the lungs. If your doctor finds cancer cells, growths, sores or other unhealthy tissue, he or she may remove them or take a sample to be biopsied. If a foreign body is found, it is usually removed.

Our physicians currently perform bronchoscopies at Northside Hospital – Forsyth.

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Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS)

Endobronchial Ultrasound Bronchoscopy (EBUS) is a minimally-invasive, highly effective outpatient procedure used to diagnose lung cancer, infections, and other diseases causing enlarged lymph nodes or masses in the chest. EBUS utilizes a technique known as transbronchial needle aspiration (TBNA) to obtain tissue or fluid samples from the lungs and surrounding lymph nodes without conventional surgery. These samples can be used for diagnosing and staging lung cancer and identifying inflammatory diseases that affect the lungs, such as sarcoidosis or other cancers like lymphoma. EBUS also provides real-time imaging of the surface of the airways, blood vessels, lungs, and lymph nodes.

Our physicians refer Endobronchial Ultrasounds at Northside Hospital – Atlanta.

Pulmonary Function Test (PFT)

Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are a group of tests done to measure lung volume, or how well the lungs take in and release air and how well they move gases from the atmosphere into the body’s circulation.

Types of tests that may be performed during a PFT

Spirometry – A test that measures the amount of air you breathe in and out over a period of time. Spirometry can evaluate a broad range of lung diseases. During the test, while you are sitting, you breathe into a mouthpiece that is connected to an instrument called a spirometer. Sometimes you will be asked to inhale a substance or a medicine to see how it changes your test results.

Lung volume measurement can be done in two ways:

  • Plethysmography Test – A test that measures your lung volume while you sit or stand in a sealed, clear box that looks like a telephone booth while breathing in and out into a mouthpiece. Changes in pressure inside the box help determine your lung volume.
  • Lung volume can also be measured when you breathe nitrogen or helium gas through a tube for a certain period of time. The concentration of the gas in a chamber attached to the tube is measured to estimate the lung volume.

To measure diffusion capacity, you may be asked to breathe a harmless gas, called a tracer gas, for a very short time. The concentration of the gas in the air you breathe out is measured. The difference in the amount of gas inhaled and exhaled measures how effectively gas travels from your lungs into your blood. This test allows your doctor to estimate how well your lungs move oxygen from the air into your bloodstream.

Pulmonary function tests may be performed to help diagnose certain types of lung disease, find the cause of shortness of breath, check your lung function before surgery, and measure whether exposure to chemicals has affected a your lungs.

Additionally, PFT's may be recommended to assess the effect of your medication, and measure progress in the treatment of you disease.

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Chest X-Ray

A chest X-ray is a painless, noninvasive test that creates pictures of the structures inside your chest, such as your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. “Noninvasive” means that no surgery is done and no instruments are inserted into your body. This test is done to find the cause of symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, chronic cough (a cough that lasts a long time) and fever.

X-rays are electromagnetic waves. They use ionizing radiation to create pictures of the inside of your body.

A chest X-ray may be recommended by your doctor to help find the cause of common symptoms such as a cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain. It can also aid in finding lung conditions such as pneumonia, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), collapsed lung (pneumothorax) or cystic fibrosis, and may be used to monitor treatment for these conditions.

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Oxygen Therapy

Your physician may recommend oxygen therapy if you have a low blood oxygen level. Normally, your lungs absorb oxygen from the air and transfer it into your bloodstream.

Some acute (short-term) and chronic (ongoing) diseases and conditions can prevent you from getting enough oxygen. You may receive oxygen therapy if you’re in the hospital for a serious condition that prevents you from getting enough oxygen. Once you’ve recovered from the condition, the oxygen will likely be stopped.

Some diseases and conditions that may require short-term oxygen therapy are:

  • Severe pneumonia
  • Severe asthma attack

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Nebulizer Treatment

A nebulizer (or JET inhaler) which may be prescribed if you have asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or another lung disorder, is an electric or battery-powered compressor to which tubing is attached. The nebulizer tubing consists of a hollow tube connected to a nebulizer cup, which holds the liquid medication. When the compressor is turned on, air flows through the tubing to the cup, causing a mist (aerosol) of the medication. The medicated mist is inhaled through a mouthpiece or mask attached to the medication cup.

It is possible to administer higher doses of many drugs by a nebulizer. A nebulizer may also make it easier for you to inhale your medications if you are having difficulty coordinating the MDI. Many different kinds of medications can be delivered through a nebulizer (albuterol/salbutamol, terbutaline, ipratropium bromide, budesonide and fluticasone). We can recommend a variety of nebulizers and compressors available to best suit your needs.

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Thoracentesis is a procedure to remove fluid from the space between the lining of the outside of the lungs (pleura) and the wall of the chest.

The test is performed to determine the cause of the extra fluid, or to relieve symptoms from the fluid buildup.

A thoracentesis may be also performed if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Asbestos-related pleural effusion
  • Lung cancer
  • Pneumonia
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Pulmonary veno-occlusive disease

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Smoking Cessation

Quitting smoking is the single most important step you can take to improve the length and quality of your life. If you are a smoker, stopping smoking can be tough but you don’t have to quit alone. The American Lung Association has lots of options to help adult and teen smokers quit for good.

To help adult smokers quit, Northside Hospital also offers a smoking cessation program.

Learn more about Northside's smoking cessation classes »  need staywell

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