Cardiopulmonary physiotherapists work with patients in a variety of settings. They treat acute problems like asthma, acute chest infections and trauma; they are involved in the preparation and recovery of patients from major surgery; they also treat a wide range of chronic cardiac and respiratory conditions like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis (CF) and post-myocardial infarction (MI). They work with all ages from premature babies to older adults at the end of their life.
Physiotherapists are pioneering new management techniques for non-organic respiratory problems like hyperventilation and other stress-related disorders as well as leading the development of cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation and non-invasive ventilation. Cardiopulmonary physiotherapists use physical modalities to treat people. This may involve using manual techniques to clear infected mucus from a person’s chest, or using non-invasive ventilation to help a person breathe, or prescribing exercises to improve a patient’s functional exercise capacity.