You’ve come to the right site if you’re looking for details on pulmonologists and Pulmonary Medicine. This article serves as an introduction to the discipline of Pulmonology from a school of medicine accredited by the ACCM. Future medical students looking for information on how to become pulmonologists might use it as a step-by-step guide.

What does a pulmonologist do? H2

 A doctor who diagnoses and treats respiratory system diseases, including the lungs, airways, and other breathing-related organs, is known as a pulmonologist. As a doctor who specializes in lung health and breathing problems, they identify and manage a variety of lung conditions, such as:

  • Allergies
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Asthma
  • Pneumonia
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Tuberculosis
  • Lung cancer
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Sleep apnea

Pulmonologists also perform a variety of procedures, such as:

  • Sleep studies
  • Lung biopsy
  • Sputum cultures
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Pulmonary function tests

They could also work in critical care, providing care for patients with severe respiratory issues. Some of the things a pulmonologist can do for you are listed below:

  1. Identify and treat lung conditions

2. Conduct methods to identify and treat lung conditions

3. control lung conditions

4. impart knowledge and advice regarding lung health

If necessary, they will recommend you to further medical professionals, such as surgeons or oncologists, to help treat pulmonary diseases. Most require you to see a primary care physician for a referral to a specialist.

How Do Pulmonologists Diagnose Lung conditions? H2

Tests and Diagnoses for Lung Disease
Your doctor may order tests to assess your overall health, lungs’ functionality, and respiratory conditions. These may consist of:
Blood gas analysis: This blood test evaluates blood oxygen, carbon dioxide, and blood pH levels, valuable indicators of lung function and health.
Complete blood count (CBC): Determines whether anemia exists and assesses the health of blood cells.
Comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP): The CMP assesses organ function and chemical and electrolyte abnormalities.
Pleural fluid analysis: Determines whether the fluid in the pleural layer, which lines the chest wall and lungs, results from an infection or malignancy.
Lung biopsy: Examines the lung tissue damage and determine whether any cells are malignant.
Thoracotomy: Your surgeon will utilize this incision to examine and treat your lung.
Your doctor may order additional tests to determine the physiological function of the lungs in addition to those that assess lung health, such as the ones listed below:
Incentive spirometer: With this device, you may measure how much air you exhale through your airways by blowing through a tube attached to a gauge.
Peak flow meter: This airflow-measuring tool benefits asthma patients as it measures exhalation.
Mediastinoscopy: A tube is introduced through a tiny incision to allow your doctor to view the area between your lungs during a mediastinoscopy.
For an accurate diagnosis of lung disease, advanced technology-based diagnostic imaging is frequently essential, including:
Chest X-ray: Examines the lungs’ anatomy and the health of your thoracic cavity.
Computed tomography (CT) scan: This cross-sectional imaging method provides your doctor with a better picture than a standard X-ray.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan: Uses radio frequencies and magnets to produce precise images of your lungs and chest cavities.
Positron emission tomography (PET) scan: Using a unique tracer that labels cancer cells, the PET scan offers an additional method of identifying lung cancer.
Your doctor will review the tests, scans, and diagnostic techniques best for determining the exact nature of your lung and respiratory conditions.

What to expect when seeing a pulmonologist H2

When you visit a pulmonologist, you can anticipate the following:
Your pulmonologist will review your symptoms and health history. This will entail inquiries concerning your respiratory issues, such as chest pain, coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Your past medical history, including any lung conditions you may have, as well as your history of smoking will also be inquired about.
Your pulmonologist will do a physical examination. Your breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels will all be examined. They might also use a stethoscope to listen to your lungs.
A pulmonologist might recommend tests. A chest X-ray, CT scan, pulmonary function test, or bronchoscopy are some of these examinations done on your respiratory system.
With you, your pulmonologist will go over your diagnosis and available therapies.
Patients receive assistance in creating an appropriate treatment strategy to address any symptoms or harmful conditions.

What education and training do Pulmonologists have? H2

After high school, it takes at least 13 years to become a pulmonologist. You’ll have to pass several standardized tests along the road. These include the MCAT, USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK, and the SAT.

4-year undergraduate program
To become a pulmonologist, you must complete four years of academic work in an undergraduate program.

4-year medical school
The MCAT standardized test is the next step. 

You will complete four years of academic and clinical training during medical school. To get practical experience, you must also finish clinical rotations at medical facilities.

(3) Years of Internal Medicine Residency
You’ll need to match into an internal medicine residency after medical school. Residency programs in internal medicine last three years. Internal medicine residents gain knowledge about sickness diagnosis and treatment throughout this period. The residents also collaborate with other medical specialists to deliver patient care while honing the abilities needed to become capable and sympathetic doctors.

Fellowship, usually lasting two years.
You must pursue additional pulmonology training after completing an internal medicine residency. Doctors can specialize in respiratory problems through pulmonology fellowships. Doctors acquired improved knowledge and expertise in this area throughout this period. Fellowships in pulmonology last two years. Some doctors complete a three-year residency in pediatric pulmonology.

Licensing and Board Certification Following a Pulmonology Residency
You’ll be qualified to apply for a medical license once your fellowship is through. To practice, you must have a license. It would help if you succeeded on the USMLE. Being board-certified in pulmonary medicine is not required, but some pulmonologists prefer it. Physicians demonstrate their dedication to offering top-notch care in this way.

Pulmonologists salary - How much do pulmonary medicine specialists make? H2

As per, As of August 27, 2023, the US average pay for a physician practicing pulmonary medicine is $296,013; however, this figure frequently ranges between $257,359 and $356,907. Salary ranges can vary significantly depending on various crucial aspects, including education, credentials, location of employment, number of patients under care, work in a big hospital, clinic or private practice, supplementary talents, and the length of time you’ve worked in a given field.

What are the most common pulmonary conditions? H3 PAA

The most prevalent lung conditions include:

Abnormal lungs fluid buildup (pulmonary edema)
Lung Collapse, partly or all of the lung (pneumothorax or atelectasis)
Lung infection (pneumonia)
Lung cancer
Bronchitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the primary airways (bronchial tubes), which deliver air to the lungs.

What is the difference between a Pulmonologist and a respiratory therapist? H3

A pulmonologist is a doctor who specializes in lung conditions and who has finished medical school and residency training in pulmonology, distinguishing them from respiratory therapists. A healthcare professional who has completed respiratory therapy training is known as a respiratory therapist. Patients with breathing issues can receive treatment from respiratory therapists, but they need more pulmonologists’ degrees of training and experience. However both do not perform surgery. 

How do pulmonologists test your respiratory system? H3

You will be given a sterile mouthpiece connected to a spirometer. You’ll cover the mouthpiece with a tight seal made by your mouth. How to breathe in and out will be explained to you. Throughout the course of the treatment, you will be constantly watched for any vertigo, breathing, or other respiratory system-related problems.

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