Adding DLCO into your cardiology practice

Mar 31, 2020

In this Q & A Dr. Peter Zambito will discuss why he started using the EasyOne Pro LAB to offer DLCO testing in his practice and how this test has benefited his patients and his practice. 

ndd: What was the reason you decided to add DLCO/PFT testing to your practice?

Dr. Zambito - The reason I added PFT testing and DLCO was to offer a better solution for patients coming in with complaints of dyspnea, in order to separate the cardiac and pulmonary components and guide them towards treatment. There is a lot of crossover between cardiac and pulmonary symptoms and this allows a more accurate assessment.

ndd: Where have you seen DLCO impact your cardiac patients the most?

Dr. Zambito - DLCO impacts my cardiac patients the most when following the progression and treatment response in heart failure patients. There is good data in the literature and also good anecdotal data in our practice that DLCO levels correlate with the severity of decompensated heart failure. They also often improve as the patients are treated and return to normal volume status.

ndd: What symptoms do you use as an indication for DLCO testing?

Dr. Zambito - The symptoms/diagnosis we primarily use for DLCO testing are dyspnea, dyspnea on exertion, cough (if suspected ILD), and systolic and diastolic congestive heart failure (acute, acute on chronic or chronic). We also help patients diagnose and guide treatment for COPD and asthma which sometimes leads to referrals for our pulmonary medicine colleagues.

ndd: How have you been able to incorporate DLCO testing into your office workflow?

Dr. Zambito - DLCO testing occurs in a specific area of our office where the machine resides in one of the diagnostic testing areas of our center. Patients scheduled for PFTs that day enter the main waiting room and then are taken one by one to the testing area. Because we perform a variety of testing and treatments at this center, it is easily integrated into the normal workup of patients and rarely leads to extra appointments, so is very convenient for them.

ndd: What features on the device have made your interpretation/ diagnosis easier?

Dr. Zambito - The primary features that help make assessments easier are the report format which lends itself to easy visibility and recognition of abnormal values (i.e. highlighted in red). Additionally, we find the flow chart at the end of the report very helpful to summarize the findings and guide treatment. Finally, the ability to choose multiple algorithms/criteria is helpful in its flexibility. We standardize by using the most widely accepted algorithms, but it is very nice to be able to change the criteria for diagnosis or obstruction, restriction and normal values based on age/gender and hemoglobin.

About Dr. Zambito and Zambito Heart Associates. Zambito Heart Center is a family-oriented health facility providing cardiac diagnostic testing and treatment to patients of all ages. A wide variety of medical imaging is available including: Cardiac Ultrasound (Echocardiography), Nuclear Cardiology, Vascular Testing and more. Under Medical Director, Peter Emilio Zambito, MD, FACC, the Center has become a vital local hub for heart health care and a unique alternative to hospital-centered care. The Center is home to Dr. Zambito’s cardiology and electrophysiology practice, which offers a full suite of services related to these medical specialties. The friendly, bilingual staff at the Center will do their utmost to insure your visit is as comfortable and pleasant as possible.

To learn more visit: https://www.zambitoheartcenter.com

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