The Asthma Interest Group focuses on diagnosing and treating asthma. Patients are evaluated for recurrent episodes of shortness of breath, cough, and/or wheezing.
Mayo Clinic allergy and asthma specialists perform a comprehensive history and physical examination. This will include reviewing of outside information provided by the patient. Testing is individualized and may include allergy skin testing, pulmonary function tests, methacholine bronchial challenge tests, rhinoscopy and upper airway endoscopy. Other testing may include allergy blood tests (RAST, etc.), measurement of blood counts and total IgE. Chest X-ray and high resolution CT scan of the lungs and sinuses may be required to detect structural abnormalities or diseases that could be causing or aggravating breathing problems. If a consultation with other specialists is needed, they are easily obtainable and available in the same building where the Allergy Division is located.
Asthma nurses work closely with the allergist throughout the patient's evaluation. One of their primary areas of imput is the patient's health-disease education, including a review of the patient's asthma diagnosis and information about prescribed medications. The nurse also helps formulate an "Action Plan" with written instructions on what to do when the patient's asthma gets worse.
Each patient receives an information card about where to call for questions and concerns.
Patients can be followed on a regular basis at the Asthma Clinic. Follow-up appointments are arranged as deemed necessary. Acute same-day visits are available during the week. Some patients are also followed in conjunction with their primary physician. An allergy/asthma physician is available around the clock for emergencies.