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VCU Health CMH Purchases New Lung Function Equipment

Teresa Tuck, Shelly Parham and Pamela Duncan standing beside a whole-body plethysmography machine

Teresa Tuck, Shelly Parham and Pamela Duncan are respiratory care practitioners who use the new whole-body plethysmography machine to test lung function at VCU Health CMH.

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) is proud to announce the purchase of new equipment for the Pulmonary Function Lab, which makes it a lot easier for patients with advanced lung disease to perform pulmonary function testing and allows more patients to use the equipment each day.

Lung Volume measurements are 50% more efficient because three measurements are made in a matter of seconds compared with one measurement over 7-8 minutes using the old equipment. Patients with lung conditions like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma need their lung capacity tested for pulmonologists to provide appropriate treatment including ordering additional imaging and prescribing medication.

The equipment is called Whole-Body Plethysmography (WBP) and consists of a cabinet in which the patient sits, and various electronic components measure flow, volume and pressure to provide determination of spirometry, diffusion, lung volumes and airway mechanics.

All three respiratory care practitioners that administer pulmonary function tests had to use the machine as part of their training, so they understand how it feels. Teresa Tuck, RCP, RRT, lives in Chase City and has worked at VCU Health CMH for 41 years. “Most large hospitals have WBP, so we are fortunate to have this equipment at our small, rural hospital,” Teresa said.

Shelly Parham, RCP, RRT, resides in Baskerville and has been employed with VCU Health CMH for 18 years. She describes the breathing pattern patients have to emulate in the box, “They take a few deep breaths in and out and then put their hands on their cheeks and puff seven or eight times. That’s it! No more exhaustive breathing that can be very uncomfortable for patients with advanced lung disorders.”

Lung patients often have to be retested to adjust treatment as necessary, so a lot of them will get to experience the benefits of this new equipment. Pamela Duncan, RCP, RRT, also lives in Chase City and has worked at the hospital for 14 years. “Getting to interact with the patients on a personal level each time they come back is very rewarding.”

WBP is considered the gold standard in pulmonary function testing. VCU Health CMH continues to invest in new equipment and improvements that will benefit the community and the conditions that are prevalent in this area.

To take a look at this new diagnostic tool, or to speak with one of the technicians, call (434) 584-5136.