Pulmonology is the medical specialty dealing with disease involving the respiratory tract. Pulmonology is called chest medicine and respiratory medicine in some countries and areas. Pulmonology is considered a branch of internal medicine, and is related to intensive care medicine. Pulmonology often involves managing patients who need life support and mechanical ventilation. Pulmonologists are specially trained in diseases and conditions of the chest, particularly pneumonia, asthma, tuberculosis, emphysema, and complicated chest infections.
The pulmonologist begins the diagnostic process with a general review focusing on:
hereditary diseases affecting the lungs (cystic fibrosis, alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency)
exposure to toxins (tobacco smoke, asbestos, exhaust fumes, coal mining fumes)
exposure to infectious agents (certain types of birds, malt processing)
an autoimmune diathesis that might predispose to certain conditions (pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension)