Pulmonary medicine, pediatric
Science and Profession (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
The pediatric pulmonary specialist is a pediatrician who has received extra training in the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory diseases. The full course of training requires a medical degree followed by three years of pediatric residency plus an additional three years of intensified study of children’s respiratory diseases. The six years of postdoctoral training are almost always conducted at a large teaching hospital.
The respiratory system has several responsibilities. Most important for life, it allows the body to take in oxygen and to eliminate carbon dioxide. It also cleans and humidifies the air that is breathed. The system contains major sensory components, particularly hearing and smell. The respiratory system is divided into two parts, the upper and lower tracts. The upper respiratory tract includes the nose, ears, paranasal sinuses, throat, and larynx. The remainder of the respiratory system, the lower respiratory tract, is within the chest and includes the trachea, lungs, and pleura (the lining between the lungs and the rib cage).
Disorders of the respiratory system are extremely common in childhood. In the first year of life, at least half of illness-related visits to the doctor are for respiratory ailments, especially ear infections and upper respiratory infections.
A child’s respiratory system is subject to a wide variety of disorders. Infections include ear infections, sinusitis,...
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Diagnostic and Treatment Techniques (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
A careful medical history and a thorough physical examination of the entire body, not simply of the respiratory system, are the pulmonary specialist’s most important tools. The physician augments this information with a variety of laboratory tests, radiographic studies, and special pulmonary procedures.
Pulmonary function testing involves the measurement of various volumes of air in the lungs during the cycle of inhaling and exhaling and a determination of the speed with which the patient can exhale. It helps to diagnose whether the patient suffers from restriction of lung movement or obstruction of air movement in and out of the lungs. It is most useful in evaluating chronic pulmonary disorders but is not practical for young children because of the amount of patient cooperation it requires.
Bronchoscopy is performed by using a flexible, small-diameter tube of optic fibers with an external light source in order to inspect the larynx, trachea, and larger bronchi visually. Biopsies of tissue, including lung tissue, can be obtained, as can samples of mucus for laboratory testing. Bronchoscopy is helpful in pediatric pulmonary medicine for finding and retrieving objects and particles of food that have been breathed into the lower respiratory tract. This procedure is also helpful in bronchoalveolar lavage, which is the rinsing out of a segment of chronically infected or obstructed lung tissue to remove...
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Perspective and Prospects (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
Pediatrics, as a medical specialty, developed in the late nineteenth century. The pediatric subspecialties, including pulmonary medicine, generally became organized in the mid-twentieth century. Major advances in the 1990’s, such as the discovery of the gene responsible for the molecular defect of cystic fibrosis, promise a bright future for pediatric pulmonary medicine.
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For Further Information: (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
Behrman, Richard E., Robert M. Kliegman, and Hal B. Jenson, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders/Elsevier, 2007. Text covering all medical and surgical disorders in children, with authoritative information on genetics, endocrinology, etiology, epidemiology, pathology, pathophysiology, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and prognosis.
Crocetti, Michael, and Michael A. Barone, eds. Oski’s Essential Pediatrics. 2d ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2004. A clinical text on the essential elements of pediatrics, for medical students preparing for clerkships. Problem-based perspective, featuring 176 contributors.
Kemper, Kathi J. The Holistic Pediatrician: A Pediatrician’s Comprehensive Guide to Safe and Effective Therapies for the Twenty-five Most Common Ailments of Infants, Children, and Adolescents. Rev. ed. New York: Quill, 2002. Integrates mainstream and alternative medicine to aid parents in dealing with the most common childhood health problems such as asthma, diaper rash, ear infections, and allergies.
Sanghavi, Darshak. A Map of the Child: A Pediatrician’s Tour of the Body. New York: Henry Holt, 2003. A comprehensive tour of a child’s eight vital organs, beginning with the lungs and proceeding through the heart, blood, bones, brain, skin, gonads, and gut. Interspersed with personal...
(The entire section is 263 words.)