Respiratory Physiology

Respiratory Physiology is concerned with the delivery of diagnostic tests of breathing and treatment of patients with lung disorders, such as asthma and cystic fibrosis.


Healthcare science staff working in this field see patients who have lung, chest wall, airway or blood oxygenation problems.  They work to determine the causes of their disorder and monitor their response to treatment. Respiratory disorders include conditions such as asthma, fibrosis, emphysema, respiratory muscle disease and pulmonary vascular disorders.

Staff perform tests using a variety of skills, techniques and equipment, while patients are at rest or during exercise. They might also help patients in the delivery of their long-term treatment and care, such as oxygen, ventilation or their medication. Tests often require considerable encouragement, technical accuracy and quality and at the same time a caring approach.

Measurements may include:

  • spirometry
  • lung volumes
  • respiratory gas exchange
  • allergy testing
  • blood gases
  • breathing during sleep
  • response to exercise
  • response to treatment

These test results help with the diagnosis of lung disease to identify treatment regimes, measure the effects of treatment and estimate likely risks during surgery.

Last updated on 23rd August 2021