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Pulmonary medicine

Helping children breathe better, sleep better, and live active and healthy lives 

Our skilled pediatric pulmonary team diagnoses and treats children and adolescents living with a full range of common and complex respiratory conditions, including asthma, aerodigestive conditions, cystic fibrosis, chronic lung disease of prematurity, ventilator and tracheostomy dependence and primary ciliary dyskinesia – plus obstructive sleep apnea and a number of other sleep disorders. 

Our fellowship-trained doctors have deep expertise in pulmonary and sleep conditions, and we collaborate with other experts around the world to tap into the most advanced treatment options, research and resources available. 

Believing parents and children are a critical part of every care team, our unique team approach to care allows us to develop long-term relationships with our patients and their families. Your pulmonary team includes doctors, nurses, social workers, nurse educators, pharmacists, psychologists, respiratory therapists and dietitians who treat the whole child and family, not just the illness.  

Our primary location is in downtown Richmond, and we have satellite offices throughout the region and in Fredericksburg. 

Asthma control 

We have reduced asthma-related emergency department visits in Central Virginia. Asthma is fully controllable with treatment and proper management. Get your child relief today.  

Little girl sleeping peacefully

Sleep medicine 

Since 1984, we have been testing and treating children who have issues with snoring and obstructed breathing, falling asleep, staying asleep and even staying awake.

Cystic fibrosis 

Our cystic fibrosis team is a multidisciplinary group working together to help children with CF live comfortably. We are home to the region’s only Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-accredited care center.  

Conditions and treatments 

We provide treatment for respiratory, lung and sleep-related conditions including: 

  • Aerodigestive problems (aspiration, gastroesophageal reflux) 
  • Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis
  • Asthma 
  • Bronchiectasis (abnormal widening of bronchi) 
  • Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (chronic lung disease of prematurity) 
  • Chest wall abnormalities (scoliosis, pectus excavatum) 
  • Congenital lung anomalies 
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Interstitial lung diseases of childhood
  • Mucus clearance problems 
  • Plastic bronchitis 
  • Primary ciliary dyskinesia 
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (damage and scarring of lung tissue) 
  • Recurrent pneumonia 
  • Respiratory failure and insufficiency (home ventilators, tracheotomy care, long-term supplemental oxygen need) 
  • Respiratory problems of neuromuscular disorders (muscular dystrophy, etc.)
  • Respiratory problems of sickle cell disease 
  • Sleep disordered breathing (obstructive sleep apnea) 

Testing and services 

Our testing and treatment options are personalized to meet the medical and social needs of each child and their family. We provide advanced testing to evaluate the type and extent of a child's lung disease or disorder. All testing is performed in a dedicated pediatric pulmonary function lab and includes: 

  • Bronchoprovocation tests (to see how lungs respond and operate) 
  • Diffusion capacity (to see how lungs process air) 
  • Exercise testing 
  • Exhaled nitric oxide measurement (to see how effective asthma treatments may be) 
  • Infant pulmonary function testing (measures breathing in babies) 
  • Lung volumes 
  • Noninvasive end-tidal CO2 measurement (measures carbon dioxide in the lungs and blood) 
  • Spirometry (measurement of how well the lungs work) 
  • Bronchial mucus biophysical and chemical analysis 
  • Flexible bronchoscopy in upper and lower airways (airway examination under anesthesia) 

Our full radiology and laboratory services include: 

  • Allergy testing 
  • Chest CT and MRI 
  • Sweat testing 
  • Nasal nitric oxide measurement and ciliary brush biopsy and interpretation 
  • Polysomnography (sleep study) performed in a dedicated pediatric sleep laboratory 

Research for respiratory relief 

As part of a comprehensive academic medical center, we participate in university-led research and education to help us provide the most advanced technologies, resources and therapies available.  

Our pulmonary team is involved in basic science, clinical and epidemiologic research related to CF, asthma and other respiratory diseases and disorders. A number of studies are initiated and conducted by our faculty researchers, and we also participate in numerous national and international research collaborations. Funding sources include the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies, VCU and the Children's Hospital Foundation, and pharmaceutical company partners.

Hear from a family 

“My advice for families is that they can rest assured that their child is getting the best possible medical care available at Children’s Hospital. They are extremely dedicated to my daughter. Every time we go there they have 100 percent focus on how she’s doing, where she’s been and where she’s going with her health.” – Robert Jette, dad to Cheyanna who lives with cystic fibrosis 

Sean's story

Addy's story: Life with cystic fibrosis

Michael Schechter
Michael Schechter MD, MPH Pulmonary medicine, UCAN Read more
Justin Brockbank
Justin Brockbank MD Pulmonary medicine, Sleep medicine Read more
Lisa Burns
Lisa Burns MD Pulmonary medicine Read more
Joseph Crisalli
Joseph Crisalli MD Pulmonary medicine, Sleep medicine Read more
Bruce Rubin
Bruce Rubin MEngr, MD, MBA, FRCPC Pulmonary medicine Read more
H. Joel Schmidt
H. Joel Schmidt MD Pulmonary medicine Read more

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