When Would You Meet Me in the ER

As a respiratory therapist, I have a clear role in helping patients with heart failure. So, at what point would I be called to help you? Here’s what to know.

When might you work with a respiratory therapist as a heart failure patient?

When breath becomes a struggle

The vital role of your respiratory therapist is easing discomfort. In moments of respiratory distress, your respiratory therapist becomes a beacon of expertise, armed with a repertoire of respiratory medicines that we can give to you via breathing treatments.

With access to a variety of oxygen equipment, we diligently ensure that your oxygen levels remain stable. The inclusion of BiPAP machines serves as a valuable tool to lighten the burden of breathing.

Whether employing one or a combination of these interventions, our goal is to provide relief from the grip of shortness of breath, affording your doctors the time to work their magic.

Your oxygen levels are low

Low oxygen levels can certainly make you feel winded. And, as noted above, we have access to equipment to monitor your oxygen levels. And, if your oxygen levels are low, we have access to nasal cannulas and masks that can help get your oxygen level back into a safe range.

You also experience COPD or asthma

Beyond heart failure, some people face additional challenges like asthma and COPD. While heart failure can trigger shortness of breath, these conditions manifest in a unique manner, impacting the airways and causing them to narrow. Your respiratory therapist steps in with tailored breathing treatments, deploying respiratory medicines to swiftly open those constricted airways. The beauty lies in the speed – the medicines I administer often bring rapid relief, making breathing easier in no time.

Severe shortness of breath and sleep apnea

We have a powerful ally for challenging moments —BiPAP masks. When breathing becomes a struggle, these masks step in to alleviate the sensation of shortness of breath. Through carefully calibrated pressures, they act as airway splints, enhancing oxygen levels and facilitating easier inhalation with each breath.

If you're contending with sleep apnea, our CPAP machines stand as guardians, warding off apnea episodes to ensure restful sleep and a refreshed awakening.

Emergency response

We are integral members of the hospital's emergency response team. When your nurse harbors concerns, they trigger a sequence that turns our phones into blaring alarms – our signal to rush to your bedside without delay.

Once there, we collaborate seamlessly with your nurse and doctor, swiftly taking decisive actions to propel you on the path to feeling better.

When you want to learn

Aligned with doctors and nurses, respiratory therapists are invaluable educators. Beyond just addressing the "what" of heart failure, they excel at unraveling the "why" – helping you comprehend the intricacies of your condition.

Their expertise demystifies the treatments they administer. This empowers you with a deeper understanding of how and why these interventions are crucial for your well-being.

Our role in your care

As you can see, we play a significant role in helping heart failure patients feel better. Together with doctors and nurses, we not only treat ailments but also illuminate the path to understanding.

In the symphony of healing, the respiratory therapist plays a vital note – a melody of expertise, compassion, and unwavering commitment to your well-being.

Have you ever met a respiratory therapist? How was your experience? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Heart-Failure.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

Have you taken our In America Survey yet?