Clinical Physiologist Respiratory
Mathew works in the Cardiology/Respiratory Department with a team of 14 on-site staff. His role involves lung function diagnostic testing including spirometry, lung volumes, gas transfer, efficacy of inhaled treatments and asthma provocations.
He works closely with several staff to diagnose and treat patients with respiratory conditions. One of the cardiac registered nurses, Heather Lester, also performs spirometry and gas transfer and saline challenge tests. Until Taranaki DHB’s new respiratory physician starts in December, we have an alternating, visiting respiratory physician who visits from Auckland every few weeks to conduct clinics. Mathew also works indirectly with the respiratory CNS and physio from Hāwera and Base hospitals when needed.
Mathew’s patients are referred from general practices, fire and emergency services or by respiratory specialists, usually to query the cause of a chronic cough, shortness of breath, or asthma versus chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Testing for inpatients is usually due to an acute exacerbation of COPD or asthma, anaesthetic assessment or baseline lung function tests for patients with no historical lung function data with a smoking history, unknown cause of shortness of breath, or those when hyperinflation is seen on chest x-rays (CXR).
Mathew has worked in respiratory function testing for 21 years in both clinical and research. He’s originally from New Plymouth, and moved back from Wellington during COVID-19 Level 4 lockdown for this position.
He started at Wellington Hospital in 1999 working in the Respiratory Department for four years performing similar tests to his current role but more extensive diagnostics. He then worked for more than 17 years at the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand conducting various clinical trials ranging from cannabis, asthma, COPD, party pills and oxygen studies.
Mathew says it’s the patients who keep his work interesting – his inspiration comes from helping patients understand their disease. His future career plans are to continue developing an effective respiratory department including community education and possible clinical research.
Outside of work Mathew enjoys spending time with family, friends and motorcycling.