Respiratory management refers to any variety of ongoing treatment used to help prevent symptoms and complications of a respiratory illness or related injury. Respiratory management can be temporary, such as treatments used after a surgical operation to help a patient with breathing, or on a long-term basis such as in patients with a chronic medical condition. Treatments generally include medication, mechanical interventions, or a combination of the two.
When respiratory management is used after a procedure, such as surgery, it generally involves the use of a respirator. This is not needed for all patients, and is generally a very temporary solution unless the patient has serious respiratory distress. In some cases, only oxygen will be needed to help the patient breathe on his own more easily. Other times, no treatment will be needed at all.
Chronic conditions such as asthma may also require respiratory management in order to control symptoms on a long-term basis. This generally involves medications which help airways become less constricted and inflamed. Emergency inhalers may also be needed for both asthma patients and those suffering from other chronic lung conditions.
There are things patients can do to help improve the effectiveness of respiratory management plans. They should speak with their doctors to discuss treatment options and ways to improve the air quality in their homes to prevent attacks as much as possible. Keeping dust and allergens at bay is one useful technique. Patients should also try to maintain a healthy weight, as carrying extra weight puts more strain on the lungs and heart and can make leading an active life more difficult. A doctor should be consulted when discussing proper exercise routines, which are needed for weight maintenance and to improve lung function.
Patients who are using a respiratory management system are often required to undergo regular screenings to determine lung function. This helps doctors to know if medications need to be tweaked or changed, or if no interventions are needed. Those who are using a respirator will undergo frequent testing, since the goal is to have patients off artificial breathing devices as quickly as safely possible.
In some situations, respiratory management involving a respirator and/or medications may be needed on a long-term basis, often for the remainder of the patient’s lifetime. Those who suffer from a life threatening conditions of the lungs or respiratory tract, such as infection or cancer, may be required to stay on a ventilator as a life extending method since lung function is unlikely to improve.