Information for Doctors

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Thoracic Medicine

Think you might have a breathing disorder or just looking for more information?

Sleep Medicine

Latest News

New evidence reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on October 15 shows that three ancient groups of hunter-gatherers--living in different parts of the world without any of those trappings of modern life--don't get any more sleep than we do


The Thoracic and Sleep Group Queensland recently attended the General Practioners Conference and Exhibition (GPCE) to provide expert information to practitioners regarding all things sleep and respiratory. 


As the official publication of the AASM, the online Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine continues to gain a larger audience among both the general public and medical professionals by publishing high quality original articles


A new study has uncovered different survival traits in bacteria depending on the area they inhabit in the lung. The finding sheds light on why some treatments only work in parts of the lung.


1.6 million people are dying each year in China due to air pollution, according to a new study.


What Would You Give for a Better Night Sleep? Do you struggle with insomnia?



What is COPD?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a broad term to define airflow limitation that is not reversible.

A patient usually has a component of emphysema, chronic bronchitis or a combination of the two.

COPD is often associated with a history of cigarette smoking or exposure to hazardous chemicals.

The Stats on COPD*

  • Almost 1 in 5 people over 40 have COPD
  • COPD is the fourth most common cause of death in men and the sixth most common cause of death in women
  • More people are dying from COPD each year
  • COPD is the second leading cause of avoidable hospital admissions

* The Australian Lung Foundation

Symptoms of COPD

  • Coughing
  • Feeling puffed or short of breath when performing tasks such as walking up a hill, climbing stairs or even having a shower
  • A build-up in the lungs of a sticky substance called phlegm which you swallow or cough-up

Diagnosis of COPD

According to the Australian Lung Foundation, spirometry is the gold standard for diagnosing, assessing and monitoring COPD.

The Wesley Lung Function Laboratory offers state-of-the-art lung function testing, including spirometry.

Doctors can download a referral form here

Treatments for COPD

Confirm diagnosis: The diagnosis and severity of COPD are determined by breathing tests such as spirometry, x-rays and blood tests to measure oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.

Optimise function: There are no medications that will cure COPD, but they can make you feel a lot better.  Treatments can include exercise, weight and nutrition management and maintaining good sleep habits.

Prevent deterioration: Quit smoking – it is never too late. Have a flu vaccine annually and a pneumonia vaccine ever five years. See your GP and specialist regularly and ensure you have regular checks of your oxygen levels.

Develop a self-management and support plan: You should have a self-management plan agreed by you, your specialist and other health care workers.


You should increase your treatment early when you become unwell – this should be part of your action plan developed by your doctor. Notify your GP.

People may be given high flow oxygen when they are extremely breathless, however this may be harmful if you have COPD.

If your doctor advises low flow rates (e.g. 0.5-2 Litres per minute) you should have a medic alert bracelet stating this.

Breathwise Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Breathwise Pulmonary Rehabilitation is a multi-disciplinary program of exercise and education for people with lung disease that runs at The Wesley Hospital.

Working with an experienced team of medical specialists, physiotherapists, nursing staff, occupational therapy, clinical psychologists, and pharmacists, this program will address the primary aims of pulmonary rehabilitation, which are to reduce the disability and handicap of people with chronic lung diseases and to restore patients to the highest possible level of independent functioning.

About the Program

You will need to attend twice a week for 8 weeks.  The program will start off gently and will provide you with a home exercise program so you can remain fit and healthy once you have completed your

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