Canadian Lung Association Blog

Meet the Lung Health Expert: Dr. Darryl Adamko

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Dr. Darryl Adamko is one of two Saskatchewan-based pediatric respirologists (children’s lung doctors) – with a special connection to The Lung Association. As a medical student, Dr. Adamko helped look after the children’s medical needs at our summer asthma camp.

As a medical student, you attended The Lung Association asthma camp.  Tell us what camp was like for you.

It was a great experience.  Great fun entertaining the kids and making sure they were safe at camp.  As a student, it was a bit stressful worrying about their health but it was a good learning experience for me seeing how the kids saw their disease and how they responded to our teaching.

Did asthma camp have any impact on your career choice as a respirologist? Or what inspired you to become a pediatric respirologist?

It definitely solidified my desire to be a children’s lung doctor.

You are one of only two pediatric respirologists in Saskatchewan.  What is the role of a pediatric respirologist and can you explain why Saskatchewan needs more?

Pediatric Respirology covers all the potential problems that occur with breathing.  Children can be born with lung problems, airway narrowing, lung blood vessel problems, chest wall problems, respiratory nerve and muscle problems, brain problems that affect breathing, heart troubles that affect breathing, and others.  Then sometimes there are problems after premature birth, bad infections, cancer, or trauma and some kids develop diseases like asthma.  We understand and treat these disorders after using special tests; we need to be able to read children’s pulmonary function tests, sleep studies or we need to look inside the lungs with a bronchoscope.  We need to be able to work and help our other pediatric doctors, psychiatrists, and surgeons. This is too much for only two doctors trying to treat all the kids in the province but if we can build on what we have started, Saskatchewan will have a world class program.

Can you explain your current research and what research you are most proud of?

I am interested in preventing visits to hospital in children with asthma, airway virus infections, and cystic fibrosis.  I starting working in animal models and models with human white blood cells. I now mostly work with adults and children looking for biomarkers of airway disease.  In collaboration with researchers at the U of S, we are developing a new test that could diagnose airway diseases better using a urine sample.  This would be excellent for young kids but also for adults.

Do you have any recommendations for children with asthma heading back to school this fall?

Every fall, allergies and viruses combine to make the airways sicker and inflamed.  Continue to use or start using your inhaled steroid preventer medication regularly before school starts.


Dr. Darryl Adamko

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Dr. Darryl Adamko MD, FRCPC

After completing medical school in 1989-1993, Dr. Darryl J. Adamko continued on to specialty training in Pediatrics at the University of Saskatchewan (1989-1997). He then became a Pediatric Pulmonary Specialist with a strong bench research background after training in a Pediatric Pulmonary Fellowship at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland (1997-2001).  He was an Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Alberta since 2001. He is now at the University of Saskatchewan in a similar position that is focused on clinical, research, and educational aspects of pediatric pulmonary diseases.

Dr. Adamko is married with two kids (a daughter and a son). He continues to enjoy teaching students in medical school, as well as graduate and postdoctoral students in his lab. He was an AHFMR Clinical Investigator and has had funding through the Sick Kids Foundation, CIHR, ALA, and AllerGen.

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