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What do respiratory therapists do?

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Respiratory therapists are medical professionals who treat breathing problems. They may:

  • Intubate you by inserting a tube through your mouth down to your windpipe
  • Monitor your breathing and other vital signs on the ventilator
  • Take your blood to check your oxygen levels and other results
  • Give you medications through mist, dry powder, or other inhalers
  • Consult with your doctors to clear mucus from your lungs or to expand collapsed lungs
  • Test how well your lungs work, including how deeply you can breathe
  • Teach you how to manage your condition at home

SOURCES:

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Respiratory Therapist.”

Mayo Clinic: “Explore Health Careers Respiratory Therapist.”

American Association for Respiratory Care: “How RTs are Involved in the Early Diagnosis of COPD,” “Respiratory Therapists: Warriors in the Fight Against COVID-19.”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: “Occupational Outlook Handbook - Respiratory Therapist.”

University of Kansas Medical Center: “Department of Respiratory Care and Diagnostic Science.”

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Pulmonary Rehabilitation.”

Concorde: “What does a Respiratory Therapist Do?”

Ellen Becker, PhD, RRT, RPFT, AE-C, FAARC, professor of respiratory care, Rush University Medical Center.

Reviewed by Paul Boyce on May 24, 2020

SOURCES:

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Respiratory Therapist.”

Mayo Clinic: “Explore Health Careers Respiratory Therapist.”

American Association for Respiratory Care: “How RTs are Involved in the Early Diagnosis of COPD,” “Respiratory Therapists: Warriors in the Fight Against COVID-19.”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: “Occupational Outlook Handbook - Respiratory Therapist.”

University of Kansas Medical Center: “Department of Respiratory Care and Diagnostic Science.”

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Pulmonary Rehabilitation.”

Concorde: “What does a Respiratory Therapist Do?”

Ellen Becker, PhD, RRT, RPFT, AE-C, FAARC, professor of respiratory care, Rush University Medical Center.

Reviewed by Paul Boyce on May 24, 2020

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