The new lung testing machine at Franklin Memorial Hospital features a bright transparent booth that provides potentially life-saving information about the people who venture inside and use it.
Called a body plethysmograph, it’s located in the hospital’s cardiopulmonary department and is used for pulmonary function testing (PFT) of patients with asthma, chronic lung disease, lung or other cancers, and for health checks before surgery.
When a patient is referred for PFT, it means that a battery of tests may be carried out including: screening for airway obstruction, lung volume measurement, airway resistance, respiratory muscle strength, and arterial blood gases.
The new unit is more spacious than the previous one, accommodates patients up to 500 pounds, and allows for easy entry and exit for patients in wheelchairs.
“It’s used by patients ages five and older,” said Kim Turner, the hospital’s director of radiology, cardiology, and pulmonary services. “In choosing this model it was critical that PFT results be able to fully integrate with our electronic medical record and that physicians could access results for interpretation in an exam room or from home over a secure internet connection.”
Images on the machine’s adjacent computer screen make it easier for children to be tested than it was when using the older model. “For example one on-screen image has a birthday cake with candles blowing out and another has a dragon that breathes fire at a castle,” Turner said. “These images help children see how they’re doing.”
Staff performing diagnostics on the new machine are respiratory therapists Suzy Gorr, CRT, RPFT, and Meghan Blodgett, CRT. They expect to perform 600 PFTs in the next year.
“This is just one more of many important hospital technological investments we’ve made to better serve our patients,” said Miriam Leonard, FMH chief operating officer.