To diagnose your bronchitis, your doctor will ask you some questions concerning your condition and your medical and family history. Afterwards he will use a stethoscope to auscultate or listen to your chest and listen for any unusual sounds. Rasping sounds in your body can signify lung blockage. While no blood testing is needed, the physician will often use the following tests to diagnose bronchitis:
- Chest tapping with two fingers – This is known as percussion and enables the physician to look for areas inside your chest that are blocked.
- Sputum sample – This is a test that microscopically examines your phlegm to see if it is contaminated by the bronchitis pathogen.
- Chest X-ray – This test can help the doctor see better your pulmonary region including its blood vessels, bronchial tubes and lungs. A chest X-ray may require the patient to don a hospital gown after he sheds off his upper body clothing. Then he stands in front of a metal plate and the x-ray machine then starts taking x-ray images of his upper body. This is a painless type of diagnostic testing that does not expose the person to more toxic levels of radiation. After the test is done, the films are reviewed by a radiation technologist to ensure they are readable and clear.
- Peak flow meter – This is a test that gauges the amount of air the patient is capable of exhaling. During this test you need to breathe air out as hard and as fast as possible. A gadget then measures in percentages the flow rate of your exhalation. This measurement is known as a peak expiratory flow rate or PEFR. If you rate about 80% or higher in your reading, it means your lung functionality is relatively good. This type of test can be done in the doctor’s office or at home if you have chronic bronchitis and may need regular readings. You can either sit or stand during this test and are required to force-breathe thrice in a row. The final reading for a session is the highest number you achieve in the test.
- Spirometry – This is another type of breathing test integrating your inhaling with PEFR to rate lung capacity. This test requires you to inhale as much air as you can and then exhale forcefully and quickly as you can for up to 6 seconds. The findings of this test will indicate the scope of pulmonary irritation or disease that may be causing lung blockage.
- ABG or arterial blood gas test – This test is often done after your doctor still is uncertain whether you suffer from bronchitis or not after other previous tests have been done. The other previous tests are all non-invasive procedures; however, the ABG test is an invasive type of test that often requires anesthesia. This test accurately detects respiratory problems and likewise measures the effects of treatments and medicines after a bronchitis diagnosis. ABG test involves the insertion of a needle into an artery (not into a vein) in the wrist by a nurse or doctor to take samples of your blood gases. This is done to basically measure the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. Since arteries are located deeper in the body than surface veins, this process may cause more pain than a needle insertion into the vein. So before inserting the needle into the artery, the nurse usually anesthetizes the site to be injected before performing the ABG procedure.
After your doctor achieves a correct bronchitis diagnosis, he may then choose from a number of treatment options a plan that best addresses the type of bronchitis you have.
Rodd Sanchez Sydney Acupuncture
Suite 410, Level 4,
229 Macquarie Street
Sydney, NH 2000
Phone: 02 8213 2888