Respiratory Physiology Lab Christchurch Hospital


The Respiratory Physiology Laboratory team consists of qualified respiratory physiologists mainly employed to conduct pulmonary function tests but also contribute to research of pulmonary function to assist quality improvement and the introduction of new tests.

Jun Yang, Respiratory Physiologist
Raewyn Robinson, MND Specialist nurse
Emily Ingram, Respiratory Physiologist
Dr. Chris Drennan, Respiratory Physician
Dr Rachel Wiseman, Respiratory Physician
Dr Maureen Swanney, Scientific director, Respiratory Physiology Laboratory

Current Research

Title: The role of respiratory function tests in monitoring patients with motor neuron disease: a prospective observational study.

Background and aims: MND is a group of progressive neurological disorders that destroy motor neurons. Patients gradually lose the function of speaking/swallowing, breathing and general movement of the body. The disease is incurable and most patients die from respiratory failure due to respiratory muscle weakness. Although multiple respiratory function tests can be performed in MND patients, their role in determining respiratory muscle involvement and monitoring disease progression is unclear. The present study is to conduct a prospective observational study to identify optimal respiratory function test(s) in terms of feasibility and clinical value in monitoring MND.

Methods: Fifteen newly diagnosed MND patients will be recruited, baseline respiratory function tests will be measured. The tests will be repeated every 3 months. A questionnaire assessing symptom/disease progression will also be filled out in each testing session. We aim at monitoring patients’ pulmonary function for as long as possible. However, monitoring will be terminated when pulmonary function tests are deemed to be no longer clinically appropriate determined by the investigators or when the patient is unwilling to continue. The relationship between the decline in respiratory function and the progression in disease will be explored.

Relationship to MND

The study directly focuses on MND patients. We hope to identify one or more respiratory function test(s) which can be used clinically to predict disease progression and sudden deterioration so that possible early intervention can be made.

Future Research

The current study is a step forward of our previous research which demonstrated benefits of using a face mask to perform spirometry in MND patients. The plans for the future studies will be determined by the findings of the present study with a general direction of optimisation of respiratory function testing in MND patients.


Respiratory Physiology Laboratory
4th Floor Riverside Building
Christchurch Hospital
Private Bag 4710
Christchurch 8140, New Zealand
T: 03 3640874
F: 03 3640878

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One thought on “Respiratory Physiology Lab Christchurch Hospital

  1. Hi

    I am coordinating a pathophysiology paper for a group of Masters of Nursing Students (n=18) who are based in CHCH. I would love them to have a visit to your respiratory lab so they have an understanding of the pulmonary lung function tests. Can someone please contact me if this might be able to be arranged.

    Many thanks for your time.
    Patrice Rosengrave

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