For thousands of Americans who suffer with breathing problems, each breath is a major accomplishment. Those people include patients with chronic lung problems such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema; but they also include trauma victims, heart attacks, and premature infants, people with cystic fibrosis, lung cancer and other diseases that may affect lung health.

The Respiratory Care Department at Wheeling Hospital serves all areas of Wheeling Hospital from the cardio vascular intensive care unit to critical care, from emergency trauma care to general floor care, including pediatrics. The department utilizes the most sophisticated equipment available, such as state-of-the-art ventilators, blood gas analysis systems, CPAP/BIPAP units and noninvasive pulse oximetry to determine oxygen needs.

Patients receive treatment from a Respiratory Therapist under the direction of a physician. The therapists are members of the health care team that provide care to patients with heart and lung disorders.

All Respiratory Therapists at Wheeling Hospital are certified and registered by the National Board for Respiratory Care. They are also licensed to practice by the West Virginia Board of Respiratory Care.

Pulmonary Lab

The Pulmonary Diagnostics Lab utilizes the most sophisticated equipment available today to test patients for lung disease. All testing procedures adhere to the American Thoracic Society and National Institute of Safety and Health standards. When a patient is suspected of having breathing difficulties, their physician may want them to have a breathing test. The test is scheduled as an outpatient procedure. The patient is taught to blow into special equipment that measures their lung function. Lung tests available at Wheeling Hospital Pulmonary Lab include:

  • Aerosolized pentamidine treatment
  • Arterial blood gas analysis
  • Cardio/pulmonary stress testing
  • Diffusion capacity
  • Lung volumes
  • Methacholine challenge (when asthma is suspected)
  • Plethysmography
  • Resting energy expenditure (REE)
  • Resting/walking pulse oximetry (non-invasive measurement for O2 qualification)
  • Spirometry

Patient Preparation

To have a pulmonary function test the patient’s physician first must order specific testing. An appointment is made as an outpatient procedure. Pre-registration is necessary. The patient will be instructed by their physician to withhold any breathing medications (if possible) for a certain amount of time before the test.

The amount of time to complete the testing varies from 30 minutes to 90 minutes. The Respiratory Therapist will instruct and guide the patient throughout the testing procedure.


Monday through Friday: 8:30 am to 4 pm