A person should see a lung specialist, or pulmonologist, when suffering symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing, unexplained chronic chest pain and bloody sputum, states WebMD. These are signs of lung disease, according to the American Lung Association. A patient should also see a lung specialist when experiencing unusual symptoms of a respiratory ailment or if she requires oxygen or other long-term therapies to treat the lung condition. The patient's regular doctor may also recommend a lung specialist if she is considering surgery such as a lung transplant, says WebMD.
A pulmonologist is a doctor who treats and diagnoses conditions that concern the lungs and their air passages, according to the American College of Physicians. This doctor also evaluates the throat, the pharynx and nose, as well as the patient's heart. Not everyone with a respiratory problem needs to see a lung specialist. These doctors most often treat patients with difficult respiratory problems such as tuberculosis and lung conditions that are complications of AIDS or surgical procedures. A pulmonologist also treats people who have had chest injuries.
Pulmonologists do not often perform surgeries, but do perform specialized procedures such as biopsies, claims the American College of Physicians. They also perform angiograms, during which dye is injected into the arteries that serve the lungs. This makes the blood vessels easier to see.