Respiratory Services

Remarkable respiratory care that helps you breathe easier

If you are one of the more than 25 million Americans who live with a chronic respiratory condition or pulmonary disease that makes it difficult to breathe, you know how hard even the simplest activities can be. Novant Health's pulmonary specialists are committed to helping you feel better at all stages of your healing journey. We offer advanced, comprehensive respiratory services — from diagnosis, treatment, respiratory therapy and rehabilitation to patient education — designed to help you thrive.

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Conditions We Treat

We care for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a term that refers to a group of hundreds of respiratory conditions. COPD treatment can include:

  • Treatment for emphysema (destruction of the air sacs in your lungs)
  • Chronic bronchitis treatment (inflammation that causes mucus to build up in your lungs)

While you may only have mild symptoms at first, over time, COPD can make it increasingly hard for you to breathe. Most older people who have COPD have smoked or been exposed to tobacco smoke at some point in their lives. You can also develop COPD from exposure to irritants in the air you regularly breathe, such as pollution or workplace chemicals.

Treatments may include:

  • COPD medication
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation
  • Classes to help you stop smoking
A health care provider has placed a stethoscope on a patient back to listen to their heartbeat.

Lung conditions our pulmonary specialists treat include: 

  • Blood clots in your lungs (thromboembolic disease or pulmonary embolism)
  • Persistent inflammation and scarring in your lungs (interstitial lung diseases)
  • Lung nodules
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Lung cancer
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Pulmonary fibrosis

Conditions like these can be caused by: 

  • Your body’s immune system attacking and damaging your own lungs (autoimmune conditions)
  • Breathing in irritants in your environment, including tobacco smoke
  • Certain medications
  • Unknown cause
A health care provider is reviewing a patients chest x-ray on a tablet.

Asthma is a lung inflammatory disease that makes it hard to breathe. It can make it difficult or impossible for you to do daily routines or certain exercises. Asthma symptoms can include:

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety or panic
  • Difficulty speaking

While many people have asthma as children, you can also develop asthma later in life.

A Novant Health healthcare provider is listening to the heart of a young boy.

When you have a common cold or other mild, short-term respiratory illness, you can typically treat these conditions at home or with your primary care provider. You may need more advanced respiratory care when these conditions get worse, don’t go away after a short amount of time (become chronic), or seem to develop into a more severe illness like: 

  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Tuberculosis
A nurse is listening to a patient's heartbeat as they lay in a hospital bed.

What Does a Pulmonary Specialist Do?

Your care experts for lung and breathing problems

Your respiratory system includes organs like your lungs, windpipe (trachea), voice box (larynx), and diaphragm. Damage to or illness in these organs or their related muscles can make it difficult for you to breathe normally.

When you need surgery or a hospital stay, you’ll likely encounter a pulmonary specialist at some point. Whether your respiratory care involves pulmonary rehabilitation for an ongoing breathing problem or pulmonary critical care as part of a hospital visit, you’ll be in excellent, compassionate hands at Novant Health. Our diverse team of skilled pulmonary and lung specialists includes providers like pulmonologists (pulmonary doctors), respiratory therapists, and pulmonary consultants. They work together to set the right care plan for you, which may include rehabilitation therapy or a prescription like COPD medication. Each provider plays a specialized, essential role in helping you breathe stronger and healthier.

When Should You See a Pulmonologist?

If you have the following unusual or worrisome symptoms or conditions, talk to your primary care provider as soon as possible. They may refer you to a pulmonologist. 

  • Persistent cough that isn’t getting better
  • Regularly coughing up blood or mucus
  • Asthma/difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Easily out of breath from mild physical activity or daily routines
  • Long-term smoker
  • Unexpected weight loss
A senior man is sitting and holding his chest. His wife is standing behind him concerned.
A woman is using her smart phone to have a virtual visit with her health care provider.

Get Started with Respiratory Care.

To get started with advanced respiratory care, make an appointment with your primary care provider. Clearly describe the symptoms you’re experiencing. Your provider may give you a referral for pulmonary rehabilitation, respiratory therapy, or a pulmonologist if needed.

Specific conditions treated can vary by location. Your provider can help you schedule at the right respiratory care location for you.

You can make an appointment in MyChart, Novant Health's secure, convenient online healthcare management tool. With MyChart, you can schedule appointments, view test results, refill prescriptions, and even have virtual visits with your providers right from your computer or smartphone.

No Primary Care Provider?

Use our Physician Matcher to find the provider that best matches your needs and preferences, including location, specialty, years of experience and gender.

Why Choose Novant Health?

Novant Health’s outstanding pulmonary rehabilitation programs are proven to:

  • Enhance your strength, endurance, and breathing ability
  • Reduce the symptoms of lung disease
  • Improve your overall quality of life

Research shows that participating in a pulmonary rehabilitation program can improve your treatment outcomes and empower you to better manage your symptoms. Participating in a pulmonary rehabilitation program can also reduce your overall medical costs by cutting down on doctor visits. With pulmonary rehabilitation centers available across North Carolina, we make participating in accessible.

An older man is assisting his grandson as he rides his bike.

At Novant Health, we trust in our respiratory therapists’ expertise. We maximize their advanced training, skills, and education, empowering them to independently perform certain specialized procedures without the need of a doctor’s supervision. For example, a respiratory therapist can independently prescribe therapy based on your individual needs. This:

  • Allows our teams to care for you more quickly and efficiently
  • Means you can expect minimal “hand-offs” between providers at each step of your treatment
Novant Health nurse is standing in a patients recovery room. The nurse is smiling and talking with the patient as they lie in bed.

We treat you like a person, not a patient. Novant Health's pulmonary specialists take the time to get to know you and understand your individual needs and concerns. Our priority is prescribing the best respiratory therapy care plan for you.

A Novant Health Registered Nurse (RN) is talking with a young child. The RN has a hand placed on the childs face as she talks and looks them in the eye.

A Novant Health pulmonary clinic is close to home — you don’t have to travel far to access advanced respiratory services. Even our small facilities always have a critical care physician (an intensivist) at hand so you can access the highest level of care when you need it. Our pulmonary rehabilitation programs are also available across North Carolina.

A male nurse is assisting a senior woman stand up with her walker.

At Novant Health, your respiratory care goes beyond medical treatment. Dedicated to your success, our pulmonary specialists lend their talents and expertise to offer you a variety of respiratory patient education programs designed to enhance your treatment. Elevate your care with programs like smoking cessation classes, breathing technique coaching, and equipment training.

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Physician greeting a new patient

Referring a Patient?

If you're a referring physician or healthcare professional, we can help you find the right specialist, programs and services for your patient.

Multidisciplinary Care

Situations where a pulmonary specialist may treat you can include the following. Your respiratory care team may also refer you to other specialists if needed.