Respiratory Therapy

Respiratory Therapy

Respiratory therapy focuses on the disease process, diagnostic testing and treatment of the heart and lungs.  Therapists are trained in a variety of treatments and diagnostic testing of these two systems. An Associates degree is obtained by attending a two-year program at a vocational college.  After graduating, a certification exam needs to be passed which earns the CRTT, certified respiratory therapy technician.  Once becoming a CRTT the therapist is eligible to take the registry exam.  Passing this exam the therapist becomes a registered respiratory therapist, RRT.  All therapists are required to be licensed in the state of Wisconsin.

The Respiratory Therapists at our hospital provide many inpatient and outpatient services.  These services are for diagnostic testing and/or treatment.  Here is a list of some of the services we provide and a short description.

  • Hand-held nebulizer, Meter Dose Inhaler, and continuous nebulizer, are breathing treatments to help patients breath easier.
  • An Arterial Blood Gas (ABG) test is blood drawn from an artery to measure the oxygen level in the blood and the pH level.
  • CPAP/BiPAP is a machine that helps increase the patient’s oxygen level by using 1 or 2 pressure levels to keep the airways open for gas exchange to occur.
  • Pulse oximetry measures the oxygen level and heart rate of a patient non-invasively.
  • Sleep screen is a preliminary test that measures the patient’s oxygen level and heart rate while they sleep to see if a full sleep study should be done.
  • Holter monitor records continuously the patient’s heart rate and rhythm, it is worn for 24 or 48 hours.
  • Event recorder continuously records the patient’s heart rate and rhythm also, but is worn for one month or longer.
  • Pulmonary function test (PFT) is a breathing test that measures the flow and volume of air that is breathed out of a patient’s lungs.
  • Cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs are education and exercise classes that focus on strengthening the heart and lungs.  There is more detail about these programs under Rehabilitation Services.
  • Exercise Tolerance Test (ETT), Cardiolite ETT, or Dipyridamole test, all are performed while a doctor and technician monitor the patient's heart rate and rhythm and blood pressure.  The ETT is walking on a treadmill.
  • Cardiolite ETT is walking on a treadmill and a special imaging compound is injected into the patient so pictures of their heart's own blood supply can be taken after they are done walking.
  • Dipyridamole-Cardiolite heart test is when a patient is unable to walk on a treadmill so a drug is injected that makes the patient’s heart "think" that it is exercising and then a special imaging compound is injected so pictures may be taken of their heart's own blood supply.
  • Sleep Studies: In-house Sleep Studies are offered at MHLC.
    1. Do you snore loudly?
    2. Do you stop breathing in your sleep or wake up choking?
    3. Do you wake up frequently in the night?
    4. Are you tired during the day?
    If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then you may have Sleep Apnea. Contact your local physician for a consultation and referral if you feel you may have Sleep Apnea.

If you need to contact the Memorial Hospital Respiratory Therapy Department directly, please call 608-776-5729

Nothing is more important than your health!