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Respiratory Care

Contact Us

Phone: 605-224-3311

The role of Respiratory Therapy at Avera St. Mary's Hospital entails working in many areas of the hospital; treating and testing patients of all ages with heart, lung and neurological disorders.

Where We're Located

The Respiratory Care Department is located on the third floor of the North Building. Patient/visitor parking is available in the north parking lot between St. Mary's and Sioux Avenue, on Dakota Avenue, and other surrounding parking lots and streets.


Our therapists are registered or certified by the National Board of Respiratory Care and serve as an essential part of Avera St. Mary's multidisciplinary healthcare team. Respiratory Therapists (RT) make decisions that directly affect their patient's well being. They obtain medical histories through interviews, perform heath and lung physical examinations, interpret chest x-rays and lab data and set treatment goals.

Services We Provide

Services that are offered through Avera St. Mary's Respiratory Therapy Department include:

Administration of Aerosolized Medications

Administration of aerosolized medications. These are the medicines that must be breathed in through various mechanisms.

Which include:

  • Bronchodilators
  • Corticosteroids
  • Mucolytics
  • Antibiotics
  • Narcotics

Bronchial Hygiene

Bronchial hygiene including:

  • Postural drainage and percussion
  • Endotracheal/Nasotracheal suctioning
  • Aerosol and humidity
  • Flutter valve therapy

Volume Expansion Therapy

Volume expansion therapy including:

  • Intermittent positive pressure breathing
  • Incentive spirometryDeep breathing and cough

Oxygen Therapy

Oxygen therapy including:

  • Nasal cannula
  • Oxygen masks
  • Oxyhoods
  • Aerosol


Diagnostics including:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) - The ECG records electrical impulses of the heart and is designed to supplement routine and emergency care services. The procedure is conducted by first placing electrodes on various areas of your skin and then hooking them up to connectors. Once everything is put in place the procedure takes less than 10 seconds and prints a computerized interpretation.
  • 30 day cardiac event monitoring (Event Monitoring) - Event Monitoring are patient activated devices used to record the electrical activity of the heart. They are activated when a patient experiences certain symptoms or events.
  • 24-48 hour Holter monitoring (Holter Monitoring) - Holter Monitoring records electrical activity of the heart for an extended period of time, usually 24 hours.
  • Cardiac stress testing (Stress Testing) - Stress tests are performed by inducing stress on the heart either by exercise or chemically. They are used to help identify problems with blood flow to the heart, blood pressure and/or electrical activity of the heart.
  • Pulmonary function testing (PFTs) - PFT is a generic term used to describe a series of tests including, spirometry, diffusion capacity and lung volumes. Spirometry is the most commonly used lung functioning test. Diffusion capacity measures how efficiently the lungs transfer oxygen to the bloodstream. Lung volumes measure the total volume of air in the chest.
  • Oximetry trending (Pulse Oximetry) - Oximetry trending measures the oxygenation of the patient's blood.
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG) - EEG is a procedure that records the electrical activity or brain waves on the brain's surface. Sensors, called electrodes, are applied to the scalp and connected by wires to a computer. The computer records your brain's electrical activity on the screen as wavy lines. Certain brain abnormalities can be detected by observing changes in the normal pattern of the brain's electrical activity.
  • Sleep Studies - Sleep Studies are performed on patients who are believed to have sleep apnea. Sleep Apnea is a dangerous condition that can cause a variety of problems. Sleep Studies are performed over night. Patients are hooked to sensors that monitor a variety of elements of their sleep. St. Mary's Sleep Study Unit features two comfortable home-like rooms with large beds.

Mechanical Ventilation

Mechanical ventilation including:

  • Noninvasive mechanical ventilation (BiPAP/CPAP)
  • Invasive mechanical ventilation

Patient and Family Education

Patient and family education including:

  • Smoking Cessation
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation - Pulmonary rehabilitation is a medically supervised schedule of exercise and counseling. This combination helps people with chronic lung disease maximize their lifestyle while, at the same time, minimizing the disabling effects of the illness.

Inter-hospital Emergency Responder

Inter-hospital emergency responder including:

  • Code Blue Team member - The Code Blue team is made up of multidisciplinary medical professionals who respond to an emergency when a patient's vital signs have dropped and the patient needs to be resuscitated.
  • Rapid Response Team Member - The Rapid Response Team can be called by anyone in the facility who notices that a patient's condition has worsened, instead of improved. The team is then called to start a multidisciplinary discussion of what actions need to be taken.