Information for Patients

BEING SEEN BY DR ALI FOR BREATHING PROBLEMS

There are many different varieties of breathing problems; anything from asthma to shortness of breath on exercise to COPD.  Dr Ali sees patients with all matter of breathing issues.

A breathing test, called a lung function test or PFTs (short for pulmonary function test), is required in most cases so that Dr Ali can further assess your breathing and how your lungs are working.  These PFTs are carried out by the Lung Function Laboratory of the Galway Clinic.  You will be asked to breathe in a variety of ways.  Your inhalations and exhalations will be measured.  The total capacity of your lungs will be calculated as well as several other measurements.  This test will give Dr Ali all relevant information about how your lungs are performing, and will help him to prescribe appropriate medications or therapies for your condition.

You may ask your private health insurance provider if you are covered for the lung function test, or PFTs, as performed as an outpatient in the Galway Clinic.  The insurance code for PFTs is:  2113.

If you are scheduled for a lung function test you should read through the PFTs information sheet (link to Lung Function Test Information Sheet) by the Galway Clinic Lung Function Laboratory before having the test done.

Once you have had your lung function test done, Dr Ali will see you in his outpatient clinic to review the results with you.

Your GP or other consultant can refer you to Dr Ali for respiratory problems by sending a referral letter to sardar.ali @ galwayclinic.com or fax to 091 720 166.

Information about having a full lung function test (also called PFTs – Pulmonary Function Test) at the Galway Clinic

 

**It is advisable to check with your insurance company to make sure you are covered for the lung function test.  The insurance code is 2113.  This is an outpatient test and is performed by the Galway Clinic Lung Function Lab (Dr Ali does not perform the actual test but uses it to assess your current state of health.)**

An outpatient appointment has been made for you to have a full formal breathing test.

This test will involve breathing into a mouthpiece and can take up to forty five minutes.  It is not painful but requires concentration and effort to perform.

The test area in the Galway Clinic is called the Lung Function Lab and is located near the Radiotherapy Department on the ground floor.  Please check in at the Radiotherapy Reception desk at least 10 minutes before your appointment.  To get to Radiotherapy, turn right inside the main entrance, turn right after Radiology Reception Desk and follow the corridor to the end.

The only preparation for this test is to stop inhaler use the morning before you are having the test.  You may eat and drink as normal.  Take any medicines as normal.    **Please do not use your inhaler(s) on the morning before your test, if it safe to do so.  Use of inhalers will give inaccurate results.  You may use your inhaler(s) again after the test is completed**  However, please bring your inhaler(s) to the test with you as you may need to take them while being tested.

If you have had any surgery to your eyes, abdomen or chest within 6 weeks of the appointment, please telephone the Lung Function Lab to discuss this; your appointment may need to be rescheduled.

If you are being asked to repeat the test, it is so that comparisons may be made with previous tests to assess current state of health.

If you have any questions or are unable to attend, please contact the Lung Function Lab on 091 785 934.

INFORMATION ABOUT SLEEP STUDIES

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome (OSAS)

Sleep apnoea is a clinical condition in which your airway collapses during sleep, causing you to cease breathing for periods of time.  Your body reacts to this cessation by forcing oxygen out.  This can cause loud snoring or a short, sharp snorting sound during sleep.  If this happens and your body is not efficiently using oxygen, you may suffer from one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Loud or irregular snoring
  • Breathing cessations during sleep
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Headaches upon awakening
  • Depression or irritability
  • Concentration problems

Sleep apnoea can be caused by a variety of reasons such as, but not limited to:

  • High BMI (being overweight)
  • Having a large neck circumference (17 inches around for men, 16 inches for women)
  • Nasal obstruction
  • Excessive tissue at the back of the throat (tonsils, uvula, etc)
  • Receding jaw

Benefits of Nocturnal CPAP Therapy

Some of the possible benefits of going on nocturnal CPAP therapy are:

  • Snoring ceases
  • Daytime sleepiness ends
  • Tendency to doze off stops
  • Decrease in risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack
  • More alert during daytime
  • Mood improves

How to Organise a Sleep Study

Dr Ali holds sleep studies at the Galway Clinic.  The Galway Clinic is a private hospital, and as such, your insurance policy should cover you to stay as an inpatient at the Galway Clinic.

Please discuss the possibility of sleep apnoea with your GP or other consultant, who may then refer you to Dr Ali.  Referral letters may be emailed to sardar.ali@galwayclinic.com or faxed to 091 720 166.

Dr Ali will initially meet with you in his private outpatient clinic to assess whether or not you are a candidate for sleep studies.  He will discuss with you how the sleep study works (link to sleep study information sheet, see below) and what you can expect.  If this is the case, you can then be booked in for a formal sleep study.

Being Admitted for Sleep Studies

Once it has been determined by Dr Ali that your symptoms could be due to Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome (OSAS), the best way to further the investigations is to have a formal sleep study done.  You will be admitted for a sleep study to be carried out overnight in the hospital.

Dr Ali will comprehensively discuss with you the results of your sleep study.  If your study is positive and you are found to have OSAS, you will be offered a second night and will repeat the sleep study on a CPAP machine to see if this improves your sleep.  Patients very often comment that even after one night on the nocturnal CPAP therapy, they feel more refreshed and awake the following morning.

Information Sheet for Patient’s Being Admitted for Sleep Study (link to sheet below)

SLEEP STUDY INFORMATION SHEET

You are being admitted to the Galway Clinic for a sleep study.  In order for this to be a success there are a few things which you need to bear in mind.

It is important for you to sleep on the night we do the test.  A good night’s sleep makes more accurate sleep study results.  To ensure a good night’s sleep, please keep your normal sleep pattern in the days before the admission.  Do not have a lie in or nap on the day you are coming in.  Do not lie in the bed and doze after admission.  It is recommended that you bring something to keep you occupied as you may have quite a bit of free time after admission until it is time to go to sleep.

Please do not stay up late on the night of the test.  Watching television or reading a book is fine, but it is very important that you settle in to sleep at your usual time.

Noise.  As everyone knows, it can be difficult to sleep well in a bed other than your own and there may be noise in the hospital ward than you are used to.  There should be earplugs provided or feel free to bring your own to block out background noise which could keep you awake.  If you are having difficulty sleeping please tell the nurse.  If there is something specific keeping you awake, it is important to inform your nurse early so that they will have a chance to do something about it.

You will be wearing monitoring equipment overnight.  It is important you have no nail varnish/false nails/gel nails as these will affect the results.  It is also important not to dislodge any of the equipment as there are important sensors attached which provide the data about your sleep.

Caffeine will make your sleep quality worse and it stays in your system for many hours.  Please don’t have a lot of caffeine on the day of admission.

Exercise can improve your sleep quality at night.  Please exercise as normal on the day of admission.  If you feel as if you may fall asleep while waiting for your sleep study to being, it is a good idea to get up and walk around.  This will help keep you awake as well as provide a bit of gentle exercise to help you sleep better.

If there is a particular pillow you need to sleep comfortably please bring it with you.  The more comfortable you are, the more likely you are to sleep well.  (Please note:  teddy bears are allowed as well!)

You can sleep in any position on the night of the test; please do make yourself comfortable.  Do not restrict your normal movements as we need you to sleep as normally as possible.

Your admission may be for one night or more.  This will depend on the results of the sleep study and any other investigations which may be booked.  Please do not arrange to be elsewhere on the day after the test; if we find a sleep problem we like to try treatment straight away where possible.

The equipment will be removed at about 8am but it generally takes a number of hours for the sleep results to be reported on.  We do this as quickly as we can and generally you will have the results by lunch time or earlier where possible.

Galway Clinic Main Phone Number:  091 785 000 (should you need to contact the hospital on day of admission for any reason)

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