Ask a Respiratory Medicine Specialist: Dr Chew Huck Chin from Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital Singapore

Ask a Doctor ForumCategory: Respiratory MedicineAsk a Respiratory Medicine Specialist: Dr Chew Huck Chin from Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital Singapore
Dr Chew Huck Chin asked 1 year ago
I am Dr Chew Huck Chin, Respiratory Medicine Specialist based in Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital Singapore. Ask Me Anything! I am a consultant respiratory physician and intensivist at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital. Prior to this, I was a consultant at the Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Singapore General Hospital. I graduated from the National University of Singapore in 1999. I then obtained the Master of Medicine (Emergency Medicine ) and the MRCS(Edin) in 2003. I underwent specialty training in Emergency Medicine at Singapore General Hospital. Following this, I further obtained the Master of Medicine (Internal Medicine) and the MRCP(UK) in 2004 and underwent a second dual specialty training in Respiratory Medicine as well as Intensive Care Medicine at Singapore General Hospital. I was awarded the European Diploma in Intensive Care in 2009. I have been involved in numerous committees including treasurer and executive committee member for the Society of Emergency Medicine, Singapore 2004-2006 and treasurer for the Society of Intensive Care Medicine, Singapore, SgANZICS conference 2012-2013. In addition, I was also appointed to the Sengkang General Hospital Pro-Tem Committee as well as Clinical Service Planning Committee 2011 – 2013. I have been the supervisor to the Respiratory Therapy Department, Singapore General Hospital from 2012-2013, and has a keen interest in the advancing technology of non-invasive ventilation. With my dual appointments as both Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School and Clinical Senior Lecturer with the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at NUS, I pursued my interest in education and was awarded Outstanding Educator for Critical Care by Duke-NUS in 2012. I have participated in conducting several courses in the field of Critical Care Ultrasound, Mechanical Ventilatory Support, Critical Care Simulation as well as being part of the organizing committee for the Advanced Ventilatory Workshop in 2013 for the SgANZICS conference in Singapore. In the field of clinical research, I have published in a wide variety of arenas with international journals such as CHEST, Journal of Resuscitation, European Journal of Emergency Medicine and American Journal of Emergency Medicine featuring topics on cardiac arrhythmias, measurement of cardiac indices in critically ill patients, severe asthma and pneumothorax and has been involved in several local and regional clinical trials. I am also an invited reviewer for the Journal of Respirology and Singapore Medical Journal. In addition to general respiratory medicine, I have a special interest in Intensive Care Medicine, non-invasive ventilation as well as bronchoscopy. I am well versed in aspects of advanced ventilator support including extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation, airway pressure release ventilation, high frequency oscillatory ventilation and advanced bronchoscopic techniques such as endobronchial ultrasound guided transbronchial needle aspiration. I am also able to perform ultrasound examinations of the thorax for evaluation of pleural effusions. Learn more about me here: https://patients.smarterhealth.sg/specialist-doctor/chew-huck-chin/ I am excited to be here to share/discuss Respiratory Health with everyone. I will be actively answering questions. Whether you've got questions about lung disorders, sleep disorders, allergy disorders, asthma, bronchoscopies, or respiratory disorders, ask me anything! === Want to ask a question? Submit your question at the bottom of this page. Don’t forget to include your name and email address to get notified when the doctor answers your question.
18 Answers
Denise Lee answered 1 year ago

Doctor, my husband has scarring of the lungs. He is currently undergoing oxygen therapy and medication. Three days ago, he coughed up a bit of blood. And the past few nights, he has been waking up in the middle of night. He also complained that the medication makes his body numb. Do all these symptoms mean his condition is getting worse?

Dr Chew Huck Chin replied 1 year ago

I am assuming that he has this condition called pulmonary fibrosis. In this case, the coughing of blood otherwise known as hemoptysis will need closer evaluation especially to exclude underlying infections. I’d recommend that he revisit his specialist for an earlier review. Such conditions are treated by medications known as antifibrotics and these can have some side effects including sensation of numbness of the body although it would be essential to exclude a stroke. Worsening of his condition typically would be associated with some of the following symptoms including worsening oxygen levels, swelling of the feet , heart failure, increasing dyspnea

Goh Ming answered 1 year ago

My father was diagnosed with COPD two years ago. He has been treated with medications, steroids, and oxygen therapy. While the treatment makes him feel less weak, his coughing and difficulty breathing still exists. We are considering alternative treatment, but think that surgery is a big procedure in his case. Would you mind giving us some advice on what treatment is effective and safe for my 70 year old father?

Farid answered 1 year ago

I heard that emphysema can not be cured. Does it mean a patient has to continue the treatment all his life?

Dr Chew Huck Chin replied 1 year ago

Emphysema and chronic bronchitis belongs to a subset of chronic lung diseases called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD for short. In general, this condition typically presents in patients who have been smoking heavily for a long period of time . Over time, with prolonged exposure , the lungs get damaged from chronic inflammation that occurs in response to tobacco smoke. We can manage and control this disease but will not be able to cure it.

Currently there have been quite major advances in the treatment of this condition and the recognition that this condition is not just confined to the lungs but also involves other organs such as the cardiovascular and neuromuscular system. As such , treatment is no longer generalised but tailored to suit patients in a personalised manner. Treatment may include but not limited to a combination of medications, oxygen therapy and pulmonary rehabilitation as well as management of secondary pulmonary hypertension . Surgical options of treatment are for selected patients and can involve lung volume reduction surgery , bullectomy or bronchoscopic techniques such as endobronchial valve insertion

Wendy answered 1 year ago

Can chronic bronchitis be totally cured?

Dr Chew Huck Chin replied 1 year ago

Chronic bronchitis belongs to a subset of chronic lung diseases called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD for short. In general, this condition typically presents in patients who have been smoking heavily for a long period of time . Over time, with prolonged exposure , the lungs get damaged from chronic inflammation that occurs in response to tobacco smoke. We can manage and control this disease but will not be able to cure it

Billy Kong answered 1 year ago

What is the recovery rate for active TB? My father also said his medications cause joint pain. Should he keep taking these medications?

Dr Chew Huck Chin replied 1 year ago

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease. Although we need several antibiotics taken concurrently to treat this, it can be cured provided the patient adheres to the drug regimen. These medications may have certain side effects for example : precipitating gout or liver inflammation which is why we need to follow up such patients closely with blood tests

Hui Qin answered 1 year ago

My 27 year old son had a car accident in November last year. When he went for a chest X ray, there were no problems identified. However this past week, he has been complaining about pain in his chest and occasionally having difficulty breathing. If he were to go for an examination again, do you think an X-ray is sufficient? Should we consult a lung specialist too?

Dr Chew Huck Chin replied 1 year ago

It would be unusual to have symptoms occurring 3 months after the original accident but we should certainly review him in view of his recent symptoms and chest imaging may need to be performed to exclude structural problems . This may include either a chest x Ray or even a CT if required

Tat Lin answered 1 year ago

About two months ago, my father was coughing a lot to the point where there was blood in his phlegm. He is 63 years old and has been smoking almost all his life. He stopped smoking since the blood but refused to see a doctor. Currently, he still coughs a lot but we don't see any blood. We also noticed there are black spots on his chest. What are these black spots? Are they signs of a respiratory condition?

Dr Chew Huck Chin replied 1 year ago

Coughing blood in a patient who has a heavy smoking history is concerning, I would recommend he see a respiratory physician and get a review. As to the black spots on the chest , I am unable to comment without seeing them

Elaine answered 1 year ago

My father in law is now receiving chemotherapy for his stage 3 lung cancer. He also has scarring in his lungs. Whenever he walks, he has difficulty breathing and feels pain below the ribs. Sometimes when he’s extra breathless, he has to go on oxygen therapy. Is there anything we can do for him to help him breathe better?

Dr Chew Huck Chin replied 1 year ago

It is possible to help him but only after we know what is the cause of his chest pain and shortness of breath. He may need repeat imaging to make sure he does not have any infection or fluid in the lungs. If he has underlying chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, inhalers may be useful

Wee Hong answered 1 year ago

My son has mild asthma since young and we do have an inhaler at home though he generally does not need to use it. My question is, we have 2 cats and all along he has no issues with them. This past month though, whenever he hugs or plays with the cats, his asthma flares up and it seems more severe than usual. Could it be that his asthma has worsened or is it some sort of new allergy? We shower our cats every month.

Dr Chew Huck Chin replied 1 year ago

Worsening of asthma control is of concern as it should be evaluated. Possible causes may include a new allergy, inadequate control of asthma, or environmental causes. I would recommend a formal evaluation with a respiratory physician. This may include a lung function test and a skin patch testing to look for potential allergens

WenWei answered 1 year ago

I have been suffering from a burning sensation in my chest and throat for almost 5 days now. My phlegm is green and I have to keep spitting it out. I have tried inhaling steam from hot water but it only provides temporary relief. Is seeing a GP enough or do i need to see a respiratory doctor?

Dr Chew Huck Chin replied 1 year ago

It does sound like you may be having a possible respiratory tract infection . A doctors visit would be warranted for further evaluation. This can be with a GP or a specialist

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