Respiratory Therapy

Redwood Area HospitalBreathing… It’s something the average person doesn’t think about until there’s a problem. Millions of people annually are diagnosed with respiratory disease related to smoking, occupational, community exposure or genetics.

The respiratory therapists at Redwood Area Hospital work with people of all ages, from birth to the elderly, treating asthma, emphysema, pneumonia and bronchitis and many other breathing challenges. We also work with patients before or after surgery to help with breathing or prevent future problems.

The hospital uses the latest technology to help keep you or your loved one comfortable and close to home when they are ill or need testing.  Ventilators, non-invasive ventilation, oxygen and aerosol therapies, chest physiotherapy and Positive Expiratory Pressure devices are some of the inpatient needs provided by the respiratory therapists.  Pulmonary Function Testing, respiratory evaluations and pulmonary rehab are some of the outpatient services provided.

For more information or answers to questions you may have, call the respiratory therapy department at 507-637-4614.

Redwood Area Hospital staff recently created the following video in support of a county policy making all daycare and foster care facilities 100% smoke free 24 hours a day. The county ordinance, passed September 4, 2012, makes Redwood County the first county in the state to pass such an ordinance protecting our children from the dangers of second and third-hand smoke.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Living your life… your way. That’s what you want to do, and that’s what we want for you.

When you have chronic lung disease it can be hard to live your life your way. Carrying the groceries from the car to the kitchen makes you winded. Walking to the mailbox takes your breath away. Going to your grandchild’s ball game can take more energy than you have. Maybe just getting dressed and fixing your hair takes much longer than it used to because you have to stop to catch your breath.

That’s where Redwood Area Hospital’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation program can help.  During pulmonary rehab you are taught about your lung disease, and energy conserving techniques so you don’t get as short of breath with activities. You will also learn how to properly use your breathing medications, which is an important part of your success.  Rehab sessions also include exercise at your pace, starting out slowly and doing more each week.

Ask your doctor if pulmonary rehab may benefit you. Testing ordered by your doctor will be needed to see if you qualify for Pulmonary Rehab.

The Pulmonary Function Lab at Redwood Area Hospital offers complete diagnostic testing to evaluate lung function.

There are several reasons why your physician may want you to complete a pulmonary function test. These may include, but are not limited to:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Wheezing
  • Smoking history
  • Pre-operative evaluation
  • Environmental exposure
  • Disability evaluation
  • Asthma
  • COPD
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Interstitial Lung Disease
  • Neuromuscular Disease

Your physician will order which type of testing is best suited to meet your diagnostic needs. Tests offered at Redwood Area Hospital include:


Spirometry measures the speed and amount of air that can be inhaled and exhaled. Sometimes to assess the reversibility of a particular condition, a medication is administered before performing another round of spirometry.

Flow Volume Loop

The same general test as spirometry, except the data collected is plotted in a different way.  The patterns revealed may indicate the site and nature of any airways obstruction.

Body Plethysmography

Body plethysmography or “Body Box”, is a very sensitive lung volume measurement used to detect abnormalities that might be missed on basic spirometry. This method measures the absolute volume of air within the lungs. The absolute volume can either be increased or decreased with different forms of lung disease.

Diffusion Capacity (DLCO) 

DLCO or commonly called lung diffusion testing, measures how well oxygen and carbon dioxide can pass from the lungs into the blood stream and vice versa. The value can either be increased or decreased related to different forms of cardiovascular or pulmonary disease.

Methacholine Challenge Testing

Methacholine Challenge Testing is used to determine how responsive or irritable the airways are and to help diagnose asthma. The subject is asked to inhale a mist that contains methacholine. Spirometry is then assessed to see if there is a change in the volume or speed in which the air can be blown out. This test is helpful to evaluate unexplained cough, wheezing, or shortness of breath.

Pulse Oximetry

This test estimates the amount of oxygen in the blood stream by shining a light through a fingertip. Because blood that holds a lot of oxygen is a different color than less oxygenated blood (oxygenated blood is bright red, otherwise it is purple), the device is able to estimate the blood’s oxygen content.

Arterial Blood Gas (ABG) Measurements

Arterial Blood Gases (ABG’s) are used to measure the acidity (ph) and levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood from an artery. This test is used to check how well your lungs are able to move oxygen into the blood and remove carbon dioxide from the blood. This test is even more accurate than pulse oximetry.

For more information call the Respiratory Therapy Department:


Our caring and professional respiratory therapists provide unique care based on each patient’s needs, from an asthmatic child in the emergency room to an elderly person with chronic disease.  Proper use of oxygen and respiratory medications can help the person live well with their disease.

Respiratory Therapists

Lance Lothert, RRT, CPFT

Amy Jo Remmele, BS, RRT