Pulmonology is the specialty area of medicine that focuses specifically on the pulmonary system. The pulmonary system, also sometimes called the respiratory system, consists of the lungs, trachea, bronchi, bronchioles, associated blood vessels, and all other components involved in and directly related to breathing and the process of respiration (gas exchange).
A pulmonologist is a specialty physician whose focus is the diagnosis, management, and treatment of diseases involving the respiratory system.
Because the respiratory system is closely related to cardiology (the area of medicine that focuses on the heart and circulation system), some pulmonologists may also be adept at managing cardiac conditions that are directly related to pulmonary disease.6
Pulmonologists are often specialists in critical care and treat very sick patients in ICU settings who require mechanical ventilation in order to breathe.
In addition to managing patients who require mechanical ventilation or experience breathing difficulty due to injury or trauma, the field of pulmonology specializes in managing many diseases and conditions of the lungs including:
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)Asthma Bronchiectasis Bronchitis (severe or chronic)Chest infections Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)Cystic fibrosis Emphysema Interstitial lung disease Lung cancer and noncancerous masses growing in the lungs Lung problems related to neuromuscular disorders, such as muscular dystrophy or spinal muscular atrophy Pleural effusion Pneumonia Pulmonary edema Pulmonary embolism (clots in the lungs)Pulmonary fibrosis Pulmonary hypertension Sarcoidosis Sleep-disordered breathing (sleep apnea)Tension pneumothorax Tuberculosis Underdeveloped lungs in premature newborns Vascular disorders affecting the lungs