Clinical Medical Assisting Chapter 9: Respiratory System
Objectives • Identify key terms and root words related to the respiratory system and their role in the formation of medical terms • Define the structures and functions of the respiratory system • List common upper-respiratory diseases and breathing disorders and their treatment • Identify diagnostic procedures of the respiratory system
Objectives (con’t) • Briefly discuss the role of the medical assistant during peak flow and pulse oximetry • Explain oxygen administration using a nasal cannula • Describe how to perform a nasal irrigation • Identify patient education information for sputum collections • Describe how to perform a throat culture
Chapter Overview The primary function of the respiratory system is gas exchange. The goal is to maintain normal pressures of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the arteries. This is accomplished by taking in oxygen from inspired air and removing carbon dioxide though expired air. This process of exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide is known as respiration. Respiration is divided into two distinct but simultaneous processes: inspiration (breathing air in) and expiration (exhaling air out).
Anatomy and Physiology of the Respiratory System The respiratory system is a combination of organs that perform the mechanical and chemical processes of respiration.
Structure The respiratory system is divided into two sections: the upper and lower respiratory tracts.
Upper Respiratory Tract The upper respiratory tract includes the nose, sinus cavities, and the pharynx.
Lower Respiratory Tract The lower respiratory tract includes the larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs.
Muscles of the Respiratory System The thoracic cavity is a closed system that is shaped by the ribs.
Function The three main functions of the respiratory system are to support ventilation and the mechanics of breathing, transfer and transport gases, and control breathing.
Diseases and Disorders of the Respiratory Tract Respiratory disorders are among the most common conditions for which people seek medical attention.
Cough Infectious organisms, environmental factors, and chronic respiratory conditions can induce cough.
Signs and Symptoms of Cough Coughs are classified as productive or non-productive.
Treatment of Cough The goals of cough treatment are to relieve the symptoms of cough and improve patient comfort.
Asthma Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition of the airways.
Signs and Symptoms of Asthma Due to the broad definition of asthma, the disease’s presentation can vary widely among individuals.
Treatment of Asthma The goal of asthma treatment is to prevent symptom onset.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) One of the most common lung diseases
Signs and Symptoms of COPD Patients with chronic bronchitis present with a productive cough that contains pus or blood and experience shortness of breath and excess mucus production .
Treatment of COPD COPD cannot be cured
Pneumonia Pneumonia is an infection in one or both lungs.
Signs and Symptoms of Pneumonia Cough is the most persistent symptom associated with pneumonia.
Treatment of Pneumonia The goal of pneumonia treatment is to alleviate symptoms and cure the infection.
Cystic Fibrosis Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease characterized by thick, filmy secretions that build up in the respiratory and digestive tracts.
Signs and Symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis In newborns, cystic fibrosis is often evidenced by delayed growth, no bowel movement in the first 24 to 48 hours of life, and salty skin.
Treatment of Cystic Fibrosis There is no cure for cystic fibrosis.
Tuberculosis (TB) A contagious bacterial disease that causes an infection in the lining of the lungs
Signs and Symptoms of Tuberculosis Patients with TB experience weight loss, a productive cough, fever, and night sweats.
Treatment of Tuberculosis The goal of TB treatment is to alleviate the symptoms of infection and eradicate the causative organism.
The Common Cold and Other Infectious Conditions Infectious microorganisms cause many common ailments of the respiratory system.
Signs and Symptoms of the Common Cold and Other Infectious Conditions The common cold is caused by one of hundreds of viruses.
Treatment of the Common Cold and Other Infectious Conditions The goals of treatment of infectious diseases of the respiratory system are to eradicate the infection, if possible, and improve the patient’s symptoms.
Epistaxis Epistaxis, or a nosebleed, can occur as the result of trauma to the nose, chemical irritants, a nasal infection, or the drying of the mucus membranes of the nose.
Signs and Symptoms of Epistaxis A nosebleed leads to blood loss from the nose.
Treatment of Epistaxis To stop a nosebleed, patients should sit comfortably and pinch the nostrils together gently.
Skills for the Medical Assistant As a medical assistant, you will have the opportunity to assist with respiratory examinations and procedures.
Administering Oxygen Supplemental oxygen may be required to assist a patient with breathing.
Equipment Needed • Portable oxygen tank • Disposable nasal cannula or facemask with tubing • Flow meter • Pressure regulator
Steps There are nine steps to administer oxygen.
Performing Pulse Oximetry Testing Pulse oximetry is a simple, noninvasive test that measures the oxygen saturation levels of a person’s blood.
Equipment Needed • Pulse oximeter • Alcohol wipes
Steps There are seven steps in performing pulse oximetry testing.
Administering Nebulizer Treatment Nebulizers are used to deliver medication as a fine mist directly into the lungs.
Equipment Needed • Nebulizer • Tubing • Mouthpiece or facemask • Medication
Steps There are 11 steps to administer a nebulizer treatment.
Instructing Patients on the Use of an MDI An MDI delivers a specific amount of medication in an aerosol form.
Equipment Needed • Inhaler • Spacer
Using a Peak Flow Meter A peak flow meter measures the PEF of expired air.
Obtaining a Throat Culture A throat culture can be used to identify the organism causing an infection of the nasopharynx area or tonsils.
Summary The primary function of the respiratory system is gas exchange. During respiration, oxygen is removed from inspired air and carbon dioxide is exhaled as a waste product in expired air. The respiratory system is highly integrated with other body systems and must be a continuous process.