Pediatric pulmonology is a medical specialty that cares for breathing and lung disorders in children. Such disorders can range from mild conditions like asthma to complex diseases like cystic fibrosis. These conditions impair airway structures and may cause chronic coughing, hypoxemia (lack of oxygen), and failure to thrive. While there is currently no cure for most lung and breathing disorders, pediatric pulmonologists can help patients manage their symptoms. Pediatric pulmonologists are physicians with additional training in both pediatrics and pulmonology. Conditions treated by pediatric pulmonologists include:
Some pulmonary disorders are detected through early childhood pulmonary function testing, and some are detected later in life by chest X-rays and CT scans. Pediatric pulmonologists may perform a flexible fiberoptic bronchoscopy (FFB) on patients, a test which examines the inner lungs with a fiberoptic scope. Lung biopsies (tissue samples) and genetic testing may also detect lung abnormalities or rare inherited conditions. Pediatric pulmonologists may prescribe an overnight sleep study to monitor patients' breathing during sleep. Treatments for pediatric pulmonary disorders can include:
Pediatric pulmonologists may collaborate with pediatric radiologists, pathologists, nutritionists, transplant surgeons, pediatric thoracic surgeons, respiratory therapists, and pediatric otolaryngologists (ear, nose & throat doctors).