Respiratory Therapist Exam Review

Respiratory therapist exam review

I recently took the paid version of the respiratory therapist exam self assessment test.

After sadly parting with the $50 test fee I spent the next 2 hours answering 140 practice questions.

Something I noticed was the amount of pneumothorax test questions on the exam. There were 6 questions in which pneumothorax was the correct answer or a possible answer.

So here are some “similar” questions to help you nail down this topic before you see them on the respiratory therapist exam.

First, let’s review. Signs of a pneumothorax include:

  • Trachea shifts away from a pneumothorax.

  • Hyper resonance to percussion due to the excessive air trapped in the pleural space.

  • Diminished or distant breath sounds on the affected side.

  • Decreased tactile fremitus, because vibrations travel poorly through air filled spaces. Though the lung is collapsed, a large amount of air is trapped in the pleural space.

Now on to the respiratory therapist exam practice questions:

1.     Assessment of a patient’s left lung reveals absent breath sounds and hyperresonance to percussion. This is most likely due to?
  1. Right mainstem intubation
  2. Left side pneumothorax
  3. Large pleural effusion
  4. Pulmonary embolism
2.    Following endotracheal intubation, chest assessment reveals left sided breath sounds are absent and resonant to percussion. This is most likely due to?
  1. Right mainstem intubation
  2. Left side pneumothorax
  3. Large pleural effusion
  4. Previous left sided lobectomy
3.    Signs of pneumothorax include all of the following except?
  1. Diminished breath sounds
  2. Dull percussion
  3. Decreased fremitus
  4. Hyper resonant percussion
4.   A patient presents to the emergency room complaining of shortness of breath and a non-productive cough. Physical exam of the left lower lobe reveals:
  • Dullness to percusion
  • Decreased tactile fremitus
  • Diminished breath sounds
The patient most likely has?
  1. Pneumothorax
  2. Pleural effusion
  3. Pneumonia
  4. Asthma

Answer key:

  1. Correct answer is left side pneumothorax. Absent breaths sounds could occur with a right mainstream intubation, however, percussion would not be hyper resonant. Hyper resonance is the clue that leads us to pneumothorax. A large pleural effusion would be dull, not hyper resonant to percussion. Pulmonary embolism would not affect breath sounds or percussion.
  2. Correct answer is right mainstem intubation. Absent breath sounds on the left side with  resonant (not hyper resonant) percussion immediately following intubation strongly suggests right mainstem intubation. Left side pneumothorax would be hyper resonant, not resonant. Large pleural effusion would be dull to percussion. Pulmonary embolism would not affect breaths sounds or percussion.
  3. Correct answer is Dull percussion. Pneumothorax is hyper resonant to percussion.
  4. Correct answer is Pleural effusion. A pneumothorax is hyper resonant to percussion. Pneumonia would reveal bronchial breaths sounds or coarse crackles and have increased tactile fremitus. Asthma would reveal hyper resonance to percussion due to air trapping.

About DW 12 Articles
Respiratory Therapist