Pulmonary Physiology Services: Science Transforming Life®

Submitted By: George P. Zeman, Director of Pulmonary Physiology and Cardiology Services

Several years ago, a cook from New Orleans, came to National Jewish Health looking for help in finding his asthma "trigger." Ron Balkissoon, MD, literally spent all day with the patient and a Pulmonary Physiology Technologist in our Environmental Chamber. The chamber is a highly specialized, large plexi-glass room where we expose patients to various substances, such as ammonia, cigarette smoke and latex, in a controlled manner and measure their breathing responses.

This patient did not respond to normal irritants, so Dr. Balkissoon literally "boiled shrimp" inside the chamber in a time-consuming effort to find the trigger for this man's asthma. He determined the steam from shellfish was the trigger and with this knowledge, Dr. Balkissoon treated the patient appropriately. The patient made the needed adjustments and returned to a productive life.

National Jewish Health is one of only a few places in the United States to offer this kind of unique and specialized testing. We take all the time needed to make this kind of diagnosis and transform lives in the process.