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Assessment and examination of the respiratory system

Eleanor Squires looks at the importance of advanced practitioners carrying out systematic assessments

Respiratory complaints are seen regularly in practice but are often non-specific and can be caused by a variety of different conditions, both respiratory and non-respiratory. Advanced practitioners working in general practice are regularly faced with patients presenting with respiratory problems, either acute or chronic, so a proficiency in respiratory examinations is essential to assess and manage such conditions.

It is also essential that advanced practitioners work in line with The Code,1 recognising the limits of their own competence and appropriately referring to another practitioner when necessary. This article will focus on the assessment and examination of the respiratory system, while providing important information on receiving a history from a patient using useful acronyms. Key learning points will include common presentations and differential diagnoses, red flags, and further investigations.

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