Respiratory therapists treat people with health care issues affecting the cardiopulmonary system such as asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, cardiovascular disorders, and trauma. They treat all ages from the premature infant to geriatrics.
In the hospital setting, respiratory therapists provide ongoing care and life support to patients in all areas of the hospital. Working in areas from the emergency room and intensive care unit where they manage the ventilators and pulmonary treatments to specialty areas like rehabilitation and the pulmonary diagnostics and sleep disorder laboratories. They are specially trained to understand and treat pulmonary diseases and the underlying medical concerns of acute and progressive respiratory disorders such as cystic fibrosis, asthma, COPD including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis. Respiratory therapists also educate people in their pulmonary treatments and medications and how to use them properly.