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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Complex Airway Tests & Procedures

For a lung, chest, or esophageal disorder, your doctor may recommend any of a number of tests to help diagnose and treat the problem. Some of these tests may include:

  • Blood test—your doctor may recommend a blood test to determine if a chest disorder is a result of a bacterial or viral infection.

  • Chest X-ray—an X-ray may be done in order to examine the chest or lungs and other organs in the region.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan—an MRI of the chest can produce detailed images of the organs and structures in the chest.

  • Computed tomography (CT) scan—a CT (or CAT) scan offers a more detailed, cross-sectional scan than a simple X-ray, and is useful in helping your doctor accurately assess your respiratory and cardiovascular systems as well as your esophagus for any injuries or disease.

  • CT angiography (CTA)—a CTA may be done to combine the diagnostic imaging of a CT scan with a dye injection that helps provide images of blood vessels and tissues in an affected part of your body.

  • Bronchoscopy—a bronchoscope is a device used to see the inside of the lungs, and may be flexible or rigid. The flexible bronchoscope is a thin tube passed through the mouth or nose, down the trachea, and into the lungs, and lets your doctor collect samples of cells

  • Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS)—this new, minimally invasive procedure may be conducted during a bronchoscophy, which lets your doctor determine the stage of lung cancer.

  • Transbronchial needle aspiration—your doctor may use this procedure to take a biopsy, using a small needle inserted through the bronchoscope during an EBUS.

Your doctor may conduct pulmonary function testing (PFT), to determine the severity of your respiratory impairment. A key device used for a PFT is a spirometer:

  • Spirometer—a spirometer is a simple, noninvasive device used to measure the volume of air inspired and expired by your lungs. Your thoracic surgeon may use this to measure the efficiency of your lungs as a way of determining their degree of function or impairment. A special spirometer, known as an incentive spirometer, may be used before or after surgery, to help you improve your lung function.

Northwestern Medicine

The Thoracic Surgery Program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital offers the latest surgical procedures for benign and malignant diseases of the chest, including the tracheobronchial tree (airways), lungs, pleura, esophagus, diaphragm, chest wall and mediastinum.

Last UpdateJanuary 19, 2012
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